Tokyo College of Welfare
Japanese care worker and social worker students came to Malmö to study the Swedish elderly care and welfare system. The study tour program included study visits to nursing homes, city hall, Malmö library and a crisis center for children. They also met Swedish students and social workers, and had time for sightseeing in Malmö and Copenhagen.
Japan is experiencing a “super-aging” society. With 25% of its population aged 65 or over, Japan has the highest proportion of elderly citizens in the world. The aging of the Japanese population is a result of one of the world’s lowest fertility rates combined with the highest life expectancy. Japan has a challenging future to manage rising costs for healthcare and welfare services together with a shortage of skilled labor in elderly care.
This year, students were greeted by Malmö mayor Kent Andersson, who also gave them a tour of Malmö city hall. The group visited several nursing homes, met with care staff and engaged in an origami activity with interested residents. Social worker students visited Rosengård and learned about how vulnerable families are supported by network groups with social workers, relatives, police and teachers. The group also enjoyed meeting Swedish students to exchange experiences and discuss studies, school life and hobbies.
For many years, Japanese students have come to Sweden to be inspired by Swedish elderly care and social welfare. The study tour gives students a hands-on experience of elderly care in Sweden, so they can compare and contrast differences with the Japanese system. Meeting with social workers also uncovered differences in the handling of child abuse in Sweden and Japan. Overall, students learn that differences in tradition and culture are also reflected in the welfare and elderly care systems.