Posted in The Built Environment

Japan modern-age retirement homes 

I saw this awesome article titled “Sign me up! These modern-age retirement homes in Japan resemble five-star hotels!” It’s written by  on Rocketnews24. Thought I’d share this with everyone.

One of Japan’s many senior citizens’ homes was recently featured in a TV special for having the atmosphere and amenities of a top-notch hotel. We’re talking a concierge service, on-site restaurant with an extended menu, and an exclusive beauty parlor, in addition to all of the nursing and medical services that one would expect from any reliable retirement home. Traditionally, people in Japan would rely on their children and grandchildren to care for them when they get old, but for those that have the ability to afford it, living out their last few years in luxury probably sounds like a suitable substitute.

Sacravia Seijou is a beautiful senior citizens’ home in the high-class neighborhood of Seijou in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. Standing tall in a gorgeous grove of ginkgo trees and cherry blossoms, you’d think it was a fancy hotel, even upon walking into the lobby. It’d take looking at a brochure to realize that you’re actually standing in a retirement home.

In the building’s lobby area there is a concierge desk, set up exactly the same way as a hotel reception desk. Residents can leave their room keys at the desk whenever they go outdoors or request a wake-up call in the morning. Staff there will handle any mail or package deliveries, take phone calls on behalf of the residents, inform them of when they have visitors, and assist them in setting up reservations. It’s a one-stop center for information and customer service.

Also visible from the retirement home’s lobby is a classy little restaurant. Unlike most senior citizens’ homes, which offer about as much variety in dining as a high school cafeteria, Sacravia’s restaurant has 30 different lunch items, with food options ranging from Japanese style meals to Western and Chinese. In the evening, the menu expands to 40 standard items. There is an ever-changing seasonal menu and special food items tailored to the needs of those with special dietary preferences or restrictions based on current health treatments or physical conditions. For those unwilling or unable to visit the restaurant in person, room service is also available. And, as a special treat, every Tuesday a chef from the popular sushi chain Midori comes and makes sushi for the seniors.

In regards to daily necessities, there is also a small supermarket and a beauty parlor on the premises. The store sells common, everyday goods and also offers a cleaning service, while the beauty parlor is open every weekday for those who need a nice trim.

Of course, no senior citizens’ home would be complete, or relevant for that matter, without a clinic. Doctors are stationed at Sakravia 24 hours a day every day of the week. They can handle any sort of problem from internal medicine and digestion to ophthalmology, cardiology, dermatology, psychosomatic medicine, and orthopedics.  Twice a year, the office runs comprehensive check-ups, but if a problem arises, even in the middle of the night, nurses are always on call for home visits.

So what does it cost to live in a place like this? The lowest possible price, just to move in is 128,000,000 yen (US$1,314,300) for one person or 144,000,000 yen (US$1,478,600) for married couples! On top of that are monthly fees averaging 240 to 340 thousand yen (US$2,465 to $3,490) for singles, though that includes upkeep, restaurant management, and basic rates for water, gas, etc.

That down payment alone is more money than I could make in 35 years! Obviously, these services are reserved for the elite.

▼ This is a picture of one of Sakravia’s most spacious (and expensive) rooms on the top floor of the building.

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But you know, Sakravia isn’t the only high-end retirement home out there. For example, Silver Residence Kourinkaku in the mountains of Fukushima Prefecture is large and lavish enough to contain its own gym, heated pool, and hot springs.

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Apparently, moving around within a pool is the recommended exercise for old people, since the body’s natural buoyancy relieves pressure on their joints and doesn’t strain the knees or back.

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Those more interested in lounging than moving about can take advantage of the large baths on the top floor of the building, open 24 hours. Then, when it’s time to eat, residents have a choice of cooking in the kitchen located in their rooms or visiting the building’s recommended restaurant, Sankaikan, for a well-balanced meal with a perfect calorie count.

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The Silver Residence has both Western-style and more traditional Japanese-style rooms for prospective residents to choose from. And the ever-important price? Two people can move in for between 10,300,000 and 16,700,000 yen (US$105,760 to $171,475), plus an additional 249,200 yen a month ($2,553).

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Better, but still just a bit out of my price range…

Source: Sign me up! These modern-age retirement homes in Japan resemble five-star hotels! | RocketNews24

Jo does not work or receive any funding from the company or organization in this article.

Posted in Ageing & Culture, Dementia, International Campaigns, International Policies, Research & Best Practice, The Built Environment

Living Tiny & the Psychological Issues that go with it

In Asia, it is not uncommon for us to be living in tiny living space. From Tokyo, Singapore, China and even Thailand, we’ve all heard, know or even are living in very tiny homes in a very overcrowded city. Cost of living is high, we pay a mint for our homes and we end up living in little shoeboxes in the sky. In a recent article by the Atlantic. The issues of micro apartments were discussed and the question is “how small can our living spaces get before it starts to impact on our physical and psychological health?”

The article talks about how these apartments serve their purpose for young, childless couples who had just started out in the world and wish to live close to the city or work or play. However, for people with children or living in a multigenerational family unit, how do people cope?


Looking back in Asia, for many in the sandwich generation, working long 10 to 14-hour shifts, caring for children and our parents. The home is suppose to be a safe haven, but when overcrowding occurs some people may feel a sense of dread befalling on them when it is time to go home. Trapped between the tortures of work and the stress of  claustrophobic home.


The article talks about how living in small apartments can affect the concentration of children and in turn, impact on their studies. The article also talks about the lack of privacy and how it may cause children to become withdrawn. If these housing conditions can have such fundamental impacts on children the implications for older adults living in such apartments with cognitive impairment and dementia must be very challenging.


However, in Japan, despite the overcrowding and challenging living conditions, strong community initiatives have risen to help support the physical and mental well-being of older adults living in these housing conditions. The Dementia Support Caravan (DSC), founded a decade ago help apartment managers to work with older tenants who may be living with dementia and require support from the community. As the number of people with dementia

The Dementia Support Caravan (DSC), founded a decade ago help apartment managers to work with older tenants who may be living with dementia and require support from the community. As the number of people with dementia continue to grow in Asia and housing conditions continue to remain unchanged; initiatives such as the DSC can help older adults with dementia age in place in their units within the community. It is in hope that more urban regions in Asia may develop similar programmes to support the people with dementia and their family living in the high-rise communities.


Source: The Health Risks of Small Apartments – The Atlantic

Source: Hand for dementia – Japan Times