Collaborating with gas companies to support elderly people living alone in the community

Middle-aged~older age
Social Activity Support / Active Elderly People Research Team


Michie Baba(Associate Professor of Faculty of Medicine)

Along with the aging of the population, the number of elderly people living alone in Fukuoka City is increasing. When elderly people live alone, their conversation with other people decreases, their life tends to become monotonous, and more often than not they tend to stay at home. In order to prevent the elderly in the community from ending up in nursing care status, efforts to look after them while maintaining communication with them are necessary.
Students in the Nursing department carry out volunteer activities (the "No elderly person living alone" project) by visiting the elderly. Taking advantage of that experience, they are working on supporting elderly people working in collaboration with the Saibu Gas Customer Service Company Limited, which supplies city gas mainly in Fukuoka Prefecture.
The gas company's meter readers periodically visit homes to check the amount of gas being used. At that time, communicating with residents, greeting and talking to each other is a catalyst for communication. Perhaps when a meter reader calls on someone, he/she may notice a lack of response or see newspapers piling up in the letterbox. Our goal is to connect the careful and watchful activities of these meter readers with the local community committee members as well as the local administration, to make Fukuoka a city where elderly people living alone can continue to live in peace.
Many of the meter readers are older women with plentiful experiences in life, but who do not have special experience of interpersonal communication. While they may be good at talking to their friends, they may not be accustomed to speaking to others, which could make them feel uneasy. Therefore, our nursing professionals will provide training for meter readers and convey the basic skills of care and communication. This is a plan to support the meter readers so that they can be active as leaders of local watchman groups.