“Playing” May Change a Future of the Elderly

This is the table used to enjoy playing casino
This is the table used to enjoy playing casino

In a little dim room, there are mah-jongg tables, slot machines and a fancy leather sofa. You may feel as if you have come to a stylish bar, but this place is for elderly people named Day Service Las Vegas. It was established in April of 2014 in Yokohama by Japan Elderly Care Service (JECS). Day service facilities generally provide elderly people with the variety of care services including rehabilitation but Day Service Las Vegus has a different concept. The president of the company came up with the new idea for the elderly when he visited Las Vegas, which is known as the world’s gambling city. He saw older people enjoying casino and thought that he would like to do the same when he becomes old.

Japan is one of the fastest aging societies in the world. According to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the number of public or semi-public nursing homes is 5,969 in September 2011 and about 420,000 people are currently using these facilities. On the other hand, 421,000 people are waiting. In other words, Japan needs twice as many nursing homes as it has now in order to fulfill the needs.

Day Service Las Vegas aims to help them stay mentally and physically healthy. At this facility, elderly people can enjoy a variety of games including casino, blackjack, baccarat, slot machine, karaoke, and more. Through these activities, their emotions are triggered. For example, they become happy if they win while they feel frustrated if they lose. This stimulates their brains.

“They are just playing games and they don’t see this as rehabilitations. So, they naturally have a smile on their face,” said Ms. Moe Mizuno, who is in charge of belongs to business development at JECS. Also she emphasizes that those games give the elderly an opportunity to socialize because they can have conversations while playing. For example, they teach rules with each other. JECS thinks that the smile and the communication are the most important factors in helping them stay mentally and physically healthy. Another unique point of this service is relatively high number of male users. Usually women predominate at other day-service facilities. Because of its stylish atmosphere, Day Service Las Vegas attracts male users. For example, users exercise with Lady Gaga’s music “Born this way”. According to Ms. Mizuno, many users are proud of this facility.

Elderly people are enjoying mah-jongg each other
Elderly people are enjoying mah-jongg each other

“Unlike other facilities, I can enjoy a variety of games here . These games may help me prevent dementia”, says a 77 year-old man who is enjoying mah-jongg. “I like to come here because people are friendly and I made friends with many people. I can forget bad things and be happy,” says a 80 year-old woman with a smile who regularly goes to the hospital for the rehabilitation

In the future, JECS plans to make private senior citizens homes which have this kind of facility. Also they are considering of selling their know-how to other companies. Do amusement day care service for the elderly take on the role of helping them stay mentally and physical healthy in the aging society? The challenge has only just gotten under way.

Written by Tatsuki Yokosawa

Edited by Mizuki Hosoe

 Japanese Version

 

Postscript

Through this article, I think that it is an epoch-making way for the elderly to play games and, through games, have smiles on their face and communicate each other in order to help the elderly stay mentally and physically healthy. In Day Service Las Vegas, the state that the elderly enjoy playing games assure us that.