Making Those Golden Years Shine – Part 1

How many of us give a lot of thought to the living situations of the older folks in our society?  Well, if you have aging parents, you may give a lot of thought to it.  And you may wonder how to help them lead the most satisfying lives possible now and in the future.

At first glance a place like the Smart Community Inage seems idyllic.  There are plenty of interesting activities to participate in, and best of all, great food!  But, this story brings up a very important idea.  While having lots of fun things to do can make life better, there is something that is even more essential.  That essential thing is to be able to live life with a sense of purpose.  I believe that at any age, having the feeling that what you’re doing is meaningful is absolutely necessary if you are to feel fulfillment.

This company president came to understand that fact first hand by talking to his residents, and finding out that what many of them yearn for is to be able to interact with and contribute to society.  One activity that he started in order to meet this request was to have residents do volunteer activities.  The video shows them dancing with a group of people in wheelchairs, and having a great time doing it.  What a great win-win situation for both the residents, and for the wheelchair group.

I think we can all learn a lot from this example.  Let’s find more ways to help the seniors in our lives be engaged and empowered.  Because when they’re happy, we can be happier too.

Here’s the original synopsis:


千葉県にある「スマートコミュニティ稲毛」は、分譲マンションと住民専用の広大な「クラブハウス」から成る。住民は、60〜80代だが、「高齢者施設」のイメージはほとんどない。高級ホテルのような作りと、クラブハウスで毎日行われる「アクティビティ」と呼ばれる趣味のクラブが人気だ。ゴルフ、テニス、フラダンスに和太鼓、コーラスと、その数は30種以上。さらに、朝晩の食事では、老舗日本料理屋「なだ万」の料理人が腕を振るう懐石風料理も食べられる。既存の2棟に加え、4月に3棟目が完成。来年には全部で  5棟に増える予定だ。運営会社の社長は、ゲーム会社「スクウェア・エニックス」の出身だ。初期投資は大きくても、その後のユーザー拡大で回収していくゲームビジネスに似ていると言う。視察や誘致も相次ぐ。 順風満帆に見える生活…しかし、オープンから4年目の今、住民に意外な変化が…設立当初からは考えられなかった声が出始めているという。新たな住民が増えることで要望も多様化。対応を迫られる運営スタッフ。そこで生まれた新発想のシニアライフとは

And here it is in English:

A Luxurious and Popular Senior Living Home….and a Surprising Change With Residents.

In Chiba Prefecture, the “Smart Community Inage” is made up of Condos and an extensive clubhouse for residents.  The residents are 60 to 90 years of age, but you don’t get the impression that it’s an old folks home.  It’s constructed like a high-end hotel, and there are popular clubs called “Activities” that are held in the clubhouse daily.  There are more than 30 clubs including golf, tennis, hula dance, Taiko drumming, and chorus.  Also, morning and evening meals include traditional multi-course cuisine prepared by chefs from the long-standing Japanese restaurant “Nadaman”.  In April, a third location will be added to the two that currently exist, and there are plans to have a total of five locations by next year.  The president of the company is originally from the game maker Square Enix.  He says that the it resembles the game business because the initial investment is large, but costs are recovered by magnifying the number of users.  But, there is still more to these facilities.  Everything seemed to be smooth sailing, but during this fourth year after opening there’s been an unexpected change among residents with feelings that were unimaginable when the home was first established.  As new residents are added their wants and needs also diversify.  The staff are compelled to respond.  What is the new concept of senior living that comes from this?

Also, check out the video:


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