Why the Japanese find end of life planning fun! Part 2


Welcome to Part 2 of our series ‘Why the Japanese find end of life planning fun!’.

In Japan, over 38 million people are 65+. According to BBC Podcast ‘Japan – New Ways To Grow Old – Part 1′ this ageing population has demanded a considerable increase of aged care-friendly stores and facilities in Japan. Mr Nagahara manages Aeon Store supermarket in East Tokyo, one of many chains which’ve been around for 32 years. This franchise was completely renovated in 2013 to cater specifically for the elderly (65+). Aeon Store is teaching the world not only how to facilate for the elderly well, but how to embrace end-of-life planning. To read Part 1 – click here!

‘Danshari’ – the Japanese art of decluttering

The concept ‘Danshari‘ refers to the Japanese art of decluttering, the process of clearing out. According to Aki Maruyama Leggett in the podcast, the word danshari is made up of three Japanese ideograms.

  • Dan – Refuse – refuse to take in things that are unnecessary
  • Sha – Dispose – dispose of things that are unnecessary
  • Ri – Separate – separate from attachment of possessions

The mantra of danshari is less is more”. Danshari fights against the modern condition of excess and consumerism.

What would it look like if you began to refuse, dispose and separate from your things? This is a great time to consider your possessions. Realising and connecting with what’s important, encourages you to let go of what’s not. Mr Nagahara explains “…after a life of consumption, you need to focus on what is really important in your life.”

What’s important to you?

Is there anything you’d like to pass on to your children like photos, diaries or a family tree? It’s is a great time to think about the legacy you want to leave and the memories you’d like your family to preserve. This process is made easier if you invite a family member or friend to your home or aged care facility, to go through it together. If you need help finding a local legal or financial consultant – call us on (03) 9043 1717.

Hwever, if you’d like to sell the items you’re disposing of, the local market is the easiest way. If you live in Melbourne, there are a few great markets you could sell your items at. You can book a stand at the Camberwell Sunday Market  (with 12 weeks notice), or a stall at the family-oriented Community Market in Pakenham, or the Heathmont Farmer’s Market. Or if you’d prefer to give back to the community, locate your closest Salvation Army or Opportunity Shop, where you can leave your items in the donation bins. Now’s the time to start the decluttering process – ‘Dan shari’ away from it!

  …after a life of consumption, you need to focus on what is really important in your life

How we can apply this to our end of life-planning

As we can see, Aeon Store’s innovative ideas are helping to facilitate the end of life process for the ageing population in Japan. So how do we apply that here in Australia?

Unfortunately, Melbourne doesn’t provide any coffins to size yourself up in, but we do have excellent resources! Here, you can utilise tools such as Aged Care Planning facilities, Legal and Financial Consultants or End of Life Planning Organisations. Or, perhaps purchase a nice journal and write some ‘endnotes’ or reflections yourself! This would be a good opportunity to gather a group of friends to discuss them with you, or to talk through anything that’s worrying you.

Remember that it’s important to talk about it – embrace the shukatzu! And don’t forget to declutter your things in the perfect danshari fashion. If you need any help locating these resources or planning for your perfect aged care facility or nursing home, contact us.

Call (03) 9043-1717 for advice

Aged Care Weekly can connect you with reputable providers in Melbourne. Call (03) 9043- 1717, email reception@agedcareweekly.com.au or complete this contact form: 

Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Readers should seek their own personal legal and financial advice from a suitably qualified practitioner.


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