過疎山村における高齢者の生活維持メカニズム : 島根県石見町を事例として Mechanisms for Sustaining Life of Elderly People in Depopulated Mountain Villages : A Case Study of Iwami Town, Shimane Prefecture
Our aging society is one of the most serious problems confronting Japan today, especially in the mountainous Chugoku region where the population has steadily decreased. Iwami Town, Shimane Prefecture, the area targeted in this study, has communities where elderly people remain.<br> The purpose of this article is to clarify the mechanism of sustaining the life of the elderly in depopulated mountain villages. In this article, a "strategy concept" is introduced to develop analysis. The "strategy concept" establishes a framework for utilizing our own resources and for analyzing mechanisms to allow us to adapt to given limitations. The trend toward the elderly living in depopulated mountain villages is positioned as a "life strategy, " and a life strategy to sustain life in a mountain village is regarded as the development of an "adaptive strategy." The following is clarified in this article.<br> Sustaining the life of the elderly in mountain villages is explained by an understanding of the mechanism of forming social relationships between the elderly and others under changing environments due to aging. The conditions of possession of "resources" differ depending on the conditions of the parent-child relationship. For a number of elderly who live separately from their children in depopulated mountain villages, resources obtained from the children are the most stable and important.<br> However, the spatial relationship between elderly parents and their children affects the supply of resources obtained from children living separately. As the distance between them lengthens, it becomes more difficult. To supplement the resources that should be supplied from children living separately, elderly people feel the necessity of receiving resources from others. When functions and arrangements of resources obtained from people other (neighbors and friends) than distant children were examined, it was found that neighbors are the closest to the daily lives of the elderly and a critical life support is provided by them. In addition, when observing the spatial arrangement of others in relation to the individual attributes of the elderly, there is a tendency to take in others in the neighborhood as aging, and rearrangement of resources due to environmental changes from aging are formed.<br> In the examination of the "adaptive strategy" of individual conditions of the elderly, the importance of neighbor relations was confirmed. With the onset of the later stages of senility, the tendency for the elderly to make an approach to obtain resources by themselves weakens, and others provide resources to the elderly. In particular, neighbors take the initiative in supplying resources as part of the neighbor character and offer resources while also involving people other than their neighbors. This shows that the involvement of livelihood assistance within rural communities is effectively functioning as life supports of the elderly in mountain villages. On the other hand, the adaptive strategy of the elderly has limitations in development with aging. Elderly people have developed an adaptive strategy by receiving resources voluntarily during the early stages of old age.<br> However, as they reach the later stages of old age, the power to receive resources weakens and they become strongly dependent upon the obtainment process through others.<br> Sustaining the life of the elderly in depopulated mountain villages is possible, while the network of the elderly and others has flexibly evolved with aging.
地理学評論 76(13), 979-1000, 2003-11-01
The Association of Japanese Geographers