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By Dave Erickson

Japan: A glimpse at Montana's future?

How the world's oldest nation cares for its elderly


Graying Pains is a series of weekly stories and broadcasts exploring the challenges and opportunities as Montana grows collectively older in communities statewide. The series is produced by the Montana Fourth Estate Project, a collaboration among several Montana newsrooms and the University of Montana School of Journalism under the auspices of the Montana Newspaper Association and the Solutions Journalism Network.

This is part 1 of a two-part story about financing elder care in aging populations. Part 2 - what new strategies could Montana explore? - will be published next week.

Montana, the oldest state in the western United States, faces many of the same problems as Japan, the world's oldest country. Might there be solutions for Montana from what looks to be a successful experiment enacted two decades ago to help pay for elder care in Japan?

On April 1, 2000, a new law in Japan began the world's largest and most radical long-term care program for the elderly.

It was a surprising development to many...

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