DR.TSUBOKURA'S RADIATION LECTURE VOL.171

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editor: Yudai Kaneda


341  Elderly care and interaction support

21 August 2021

In March of this year, the latest report from the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation indicated that the possibility of an increase in cancer associated with radiation exposure is low. The report stated, “The number of people who have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami has been increasing. On the other hand, the effects on health, such as psychological effects and lifestyle-related diseases due to changes in the living environment, were enormous.” However, these outcomes were not the only impact on health.



 One of the most important health effects was the impact on caregiving, especially for the elderly. In one area of Hamadori, it was reported that in the five years following the earthquake, those who were forced to evacuate were about 1.6 times more likely to require nursing care than those who did not evacuate.

 In addition, long-term care insurance premiums vary according to how much long-term care services are needed in that municipality. Until recently, more than half of the top 10 municipalities in Japan for long-term care insurance premiums were in Hamadori.


 Separation from family and reduced interaction with local residents is believed to lead to cognitive decline and lack of physical activity, making people more likely to require nursing care. Care for the elderly is supported not only by so-called nursing care services, but also by interactions with other people. This is equally a challenge today, as new coronavirus infections continue to rage.



342 Support for the health of those around you is possible

28 August 2021

In March of this year, the latest report from the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation indicated the possibility of an increase in cancer associated with radiation exposure is low. The report stated, “The number of people who have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami has been increasing. On the other hand, the effects on health, such as psychological effects and lifestyle-related diseases due to changes in the living environment, were enormous.” However, these outcomes were not the only impact on health.


 When we think about the health issues associated with the nuclear power plant accident over the past decade, what we have experienced is that while radiation is of course important, the psychological effects and lifestyle-related diseases caused by the change in living environment are also enormous. It is important for us not to be biased toward one side or the other, but to take measures to prevent both.


 Our health is not only related to individual factors such as worsening lifestyle-related diseases because we don’t exercise anymore or increasing depression because we don’t interact with people anymore, but also access to hospitals and other facilities is worsening and support from family members is becoming harder to obtain. Support is the key to success. Focusing on any one risk alone can result in an imbalance that affects your health as a whole.


 This is not unique to the nuclear accident; the same thing has been reported in the past in areas severely damaged by major typhoons (hurricanes) in the United States. In addition, the situation is the same today, when new coronavirus infections are raging.

 

The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 21 and 28 August 2021 were reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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