Echio Sato an 81 year old Japanese woman lived with her son and his family in Tokyo but they did not talk to her, or involve her in family life. And she could not afford to move to a retirement home. She wept every day.
“My food was left in the kitchen for me and I ate on my own... I would have liked to be happy for just one hour a day.”
These excerpts are taken from a story on aging and the increasing suicide rate in Japan, reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation..
Government has been shocked by the suicide statistics and some money is being put into raising awareness. The elderly are being encouraged out of their homes into new community centers, which hold special activities for them.
Now Echio Sato, this 81 year-old great grandmother attends a “keep-fit class” at the community center once a week.
“I also do origami and love dancing!” she giggles.
She is happy when she sees her friends. “I can talk to other old people when we meet up. I know that we share the same problems.”
But Japan has a long way to go before it reduces its suicide rate, as you know, Mr. Johnson.
It is a society going through a major upheaval, with lessons for all aging and graying societies and for those of us concerned about our elders in Shorewood.