4. Silver Housing and Life Support Advisors (LSA)
Silver Housing System
The Silver Housing Project System was established by the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 1987 to "to integrate housing measures and welfare policies so as to provide models of housing whose physical and social structures are built in consideration of the special needs of the elderly so that senior citizens can maintain independent, safe, and comfortable lifestyles within their local communities". Specifically this means installing emergency communication systems, handrails, and doors that are easy to open and close in housing units, as well as providing common rooms, safety checks, information services, 24-hour living support advisor services, and optional dining and bathing services at communal day care center facilities. At Silver Heights Kikusui constructed in Kobe's Hyogo Ward in 1987, there were 274 units in 8 complexes available from the time of its construction until 1994.
Living Support Advisors (LSA)
One LSA is on duty for every 10-30 Silver Housing units to provide "living advice and consultation services, safety checks, short-term housecleaning assistance, and emergency care" as needed. While one of the primary purposes of Silver Housing is to provide senior citizens with a sense of security, another is to help them be more active so that they can live more independent and functional lifestyles. The important role of making this happen is assigned to the LSAs, key personnel on whom the success of Silver Housing facilities rests. The LSA care system is composed of three categories of care: On-site, dispatched, and roaming. The on-site LSAs comprise the basic, most standard group of caregivers. The dispatched and roaming LSAs are new categories of caregivers who have a somewhat professional relationship with elderly residents and who can manage projects that do not require full-time LSAs.
Development of Silver Housing in Disaster Restoration Public Housing
The large number of senior citizens counted among the earthquake victims requires that restoration housing be able to meet the needs of the elderly. As public housing has been constructed, the overall development of Silver Housing has been examined and implemented in Hyogo Prefecture and the stricken cities. Of the Disaster Restoration Public Housing units provided in Kobe, 15 complexes of 1,111 units are Silver Housing units. Although the physical features of these complexes have been improved over time, the installation of common-use welfare facilities and the procurement of LSA personnel is rather difficult. Thus, they are combining the advantages of having welfare facilities nearby with dispatch LSA services. Living assistance services and emergency care are provided from nearby welfare facilities, while LSA dispatch caregivers visit complexes to provide assistance during the day (private security personnel provide emergency care at night).
Installation of Emergency Automatic Communication Devices
Since there are many senior citizens living in non-Silver Housing designated Disaster Restoration Public Housing units, emergency automatic communication devices are being installed in the small housing units that tend to be occupied by single elderly adults or elderly couples so that residents can be safer and more secure. These devices have an emergency button that, when pressed, uses telephone lines to inform a pre-registered relative or neighbor of an emergency. The number of homes in which these devices are being installed is increasing, and is expected to reach approximately 6,300 housing units.