How sharing can bring Japan's elderly and youth together

How sharing can bring Japan's elderly and youth together

Until recently, 83 year-old-old Michiko Takada, a widow living in the city of Beppu in southern Japan, led an active life. The retiree volunteered as a "citizen teacher" for home economics classes at local middle schools. All this changed when the former dietitian injured her leg last summer and decided to surrender her driver's license, a move the government has promoted to curb a rise in accidents among elderly drivers.

"I didn't want to risk causing an accident, but I'm really regretting giving up my license now," says Takada. "There's only one bus every hour into town from my area, and no shops nearby, so it's a hassle to go anywhere. I now realize how easily a person could become a shut-in."

Takada has middle-aged children: a son and daughter living in Osaka and Tokyo. A generation ago, one of them would have been very likely to move back to care for their aging mother, but like many of her peers, Takada doesn't wish to be a burden on her children or their spouses.

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