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Research Team for Social Participation and Healthy Aging

Team Leader

Erika Kobayashi, Ph.D.


The target of our research team is Japanese older adults who is living independently: approximately 80% of the older adults’ population in Japan. Studies and community-based action research aiming to facilitate the ‘participation’ and ‘activity’ of the ICT model, is being conducted. The wholesome goal is to contribute to elongating healthy life expectancy and mitigating health inequality presented in the second term of Health Japan 21.
The team is divided into three groups each with its own research theme. All of the groups work on researches that leads to the increase of productivity and healthy ageing. We also work on researches which target possible problems which could rise when one connects with the society.
The term ‘productivity’ mentioned above includes wide range of activities such as working, volunteering, neighborhood and friend support, daily chores, paid or unpaid productive and social role. The definition of the term ‘healthy ageing’ is equivalent to independent living with maintained levels of physical, psychological, and social function. Japan is facing decrease in population with small number of children and larger number of older adults. Under this circumstance, the productivity of older adults is highly anticipated. We will conduct researches which will foster social capitals through various social participation and social contribution programs. In addition, communal system involving layers of multigenerational residents will be constructed to enhance productivity and mitigate health inequality.
Intervention and wholesome epidemiological study focusing on frailty will be conducted to facilitate healthy ageing. The results will be used to develop personal approaches and social systems. The system will be distributed nationally to achieve longer healthy life span.
Large scale research and analysis will be launched to solve problems associated with society and connection. Problems related with work life balance of older adults will be clarified and elucidating the reality of intergenerational support and its effects will also be one of the major goals.
The three topics will collaborate and support each other to conduct research which can be used to write policies. Findings regarding social participation and social relation from Basic Research on Older Adults in Metropolitan Areas, will be applied to intervention programs and action research by Promoting Participation and Contribution to Society Group and Research on Healthy Aging and Community Health Group for verification and implementation. For example, care prevention and daily life support program hosted by the city government will support the SPDCA (survey→plan→do→check→act) cycle of frail prevention program and multigenerational support model.
The research findings will be used to write enforcement policies of collaborating city government, Tokyo, and Japan. These should also contribute to achieving nine of the seventeen SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) set by the United Nations which foresee the year 2030.

Major Research Titles