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The Japanese health ministry plans to subsidize municipalities that regularly provide opportunities for dementia patients and their families to interact with each other, starting in fiscal 2022, which begins next April.

The ministry aims to create more occasions for those people to share their worries, hoping to ease their burdens and help them maintain healthy family relationships.

Dementia can hit relations between patients and their families, with patients feeling anxious and lonely and family members becoming touchy. It is often seen as important to provide places for them to sort out their feelings through interactions with others.

In fiscal 2020-21, the ministry subsidized model projects for such opportunities undertaken by social welfare corporations.

In fiscal 2020, there were five such projects in which patients and their families shared their experiences and worries with each other through participation in activities such as chorus singing and sports.

Japan had an estimated 4.62 million older people with dementia as of 2012. The figure is expected to reach seven million in 2025, equivalent to one in every five people aged 65 or older.

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