The rapid aging of Japan's population has created a situation in which more than half the elderly people who are incapacitated and live in their own homes are being cared for by other elderly family members. In some cases, the caretakers become physically exhausted and stressed out as they work alone to help their loved ones.

Financially strained social security programs such as nursing care insurance do not provide sufficient help. Multiple layers of support, including community-level efforts, are needed to avoid isolating both the senior citizens needing care and those looking after them.

In 51.2 percent of households nationwide that have a member aged 65 or older in need of nursing care, the person providing the care is also above the age of 64, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry's 2013 survey on people's lives shows. The figure — a record high — was 5.3 percentage points higher than in the previous survey in 2010. In 29 percent of the households, both the person receiving care and the one providing care are at least 75 years old. The ministry estimates that such households will increase as the aging of the nation's population accelerates.