When thinking of countries faced with the challenges of an aging population, Japan comes to mind for many of us. According to World Atlas data, 28.1% of Japan's population was over 65 in 2020. Along with Japan, Korea, China, Italy, and the USA have rapidly increasing aging populations. For instance, the population of individuals in the United States over age 65 is expected to increase 21.4% by 2035.
Sompo Holdings Adapts to Meet the Need
In our latest Technovate, I spoke with Tet Morito, General Manager, Global Strategy Office at Sompo Holdings, about how his organization is seeking opportunities to complement insurance with healthcare and wellness services to support the growing elderly population. Sompo started in the property and casualty business, but as the demand for eldercare services increased, the company branched out into life and health. Now, the business runs over a thousand elderly service facilities for 80,000 customers, with a wide range of services ranging from residential facilities to at-home care.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Sompo's strategy is its use of data, in partnership with Palantir, to improve outcomes. Each of Sompo's facilities is equipped with sensors that monitor patients' health and well-being. By using a platform Morito called their Real Data Platform, collected data can be analyzed to adapt care to each patient's specific needs.
Morito gave the example of monitoring a patient's sleep patterns. As those who've cared for the elderly know, disrupted sleep can be part of the aging process or a side effect of other diseases, such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Either way, optimal well-being requires consistent, uninterrupted sleep. In Sompo's facilities, sensors monitor patients' movements as they sleep so that caregivers can respond to their specific sleep challenges.
Improving At-Home Care
Aging in place is a trend in Japan, just like in many other parts of the world. Sensors can also monitor patients in their homes, alerting professional caregivers to emergencies or needs they might have missed during regular visits. Monitoring can give peace of mind to loved ones who want to help the elderly stay in their homes but may be unable to monitor them around the clock due to other obligations.
Speaking of caring for caregivers, I encourage you to check out the article by Ali Ahmadi, CEO and founder of TCARE. After experiencing, firsthand, the incredible strain of caring for his elderly mother-in-law, Ali launched TCARE, an organization focused on providing support to family caregivers. Ali's story is remarkable, and his organization's work is necessary, as the number of people caring for elderly loved ones or those with special needs is increasing worldwide.
A Global Issue
The challenges associated with super-aged societies aren't unique to Japan. An accepted definition of a super-aged country is one in which more than 1 in 5 people are over 65. If current trends continue, more countries will become super-aged.
Many insurers are confronting the challenges of eldercare head-on. In fact, a survey conducted by RGAX in collaboration with our parent company, the Reinsurance Group of America (RGA), found that 66% of carrier respondents offer eldercare solutions, including 40% who provide support for elderly customers aging in place
As noted in our 2021 ESG report, RGAX is committed to the challenge of caring for the elderly, and we'll continue to build relationships with providers, insurers, healthtechs, insurtechs, and other organizations sharing this commitment. If you're interested in partnering with us, you can learn more about how we enable transformation through collaboration on our website.