An important goal in dealing with the elderly in Japan has become one of finding ways to expand and strengthen their physical capabilities in order to remain useful to themselves and to society.
Of course, why didn't I think of that?
So now based on this thought, we can develop a significant principle for dealing with a growing elderly population and with associated attitudes.
I would start by declaring a goal for improving the usefulness and independence of people, specifically workers, beyond the presently established time spans.
Retirement should not be a goal in itself. The first goal should be in maintaining one's usefulness to self and to the community.
Idleness is not the characteristic of human beings. Our prisons force idleness on prisoners for punishment. Therefore, effective activity must be an intregal part of the “usefulness principle.”
Retirement is all right for those who desire it and can afford it. Along with the principle of extending usefulness, we need to find different levels of usefulness and of disabilities.
The Japanese have developed an intelligent wheel chair in order to provide increased mobility and so that these disabilities can more easily be dealt with by the individual himself.
A robotic knee already exists in the U.S. to assist amputees and may be applied to persons having difficulties in walking. Therefore, the Japanese are looking more and more toward robotics for solutions.
But before dealing with the disabilities, we should be working toward encouraging people as they grow older in finding ways of using their own personal mental and physical resources to maintain a place in the work force as long as they feel comfortable with doing so.
Then we should turn to ways that will enable them to keep their independence as long as possible.
These goals and objectives will turn around our present attitudes toward retirement and the elderly and may even lead us toward ways for carrying our social security and Medicare costs.
The principle of expanding and improving the ways of maintaining ones independence will lead us to many worthwhile changes for all members of our society and for society itself.
Perhaps Shorewood should start thinking about attracting services and research-type activities and toward developing these type industries in our community. This may be the type of research that could be fitted into the character of our community.
Here we could expand our economic usefulness and our economic base where former heavy-type industries could not find a place. This type of approach is preferred to looking toward accommodating human storage houses for the elderly on our river sites.
What's happened to American initiative? Let's tone down the restraining idea of merely improving land values and instead improve our economic base. This will provide even better long term gains for the economic and social values of our community as well as for its tax base.