Last year, I learned that some of my school friends, started to care for their parents. Our parents are in their 70s. Considering Japan is known as a country of longevity, needing live in assistance in their 70s seems to be too early. But some people have parkinson's disease or alzheimer's disease, or some suffered strokes, it seems that illnesses gradually sneak up when people reach 70.
Only a small number of elderly people go to a nursing home, because Japan doesn't have an adequate number of those facilities to accommodate the vast number of the elderly, and many people want to spend the rest of their lives in their own home, being cared for by family members. So the burden of elderly care often falls into a woman in the family.
It is a physically demanding hard work to care for the debilitated elderly. Sometimes men are the only care taker for their parents, but it often doesn't go well, and sometimes ends tragically. Many Japanese women indicate that Japanese men often lack the mentality to deal with aging parents.
One of my high school friends is caring for her aging husband, who started to suffer the onset of dementia, and an in-law, while she is working to support her family. Another of my acquaintances is caring for three people, her mother, uncle and aunt. Fortunately those elderly people still can take care of themselves with little assistance. However, it takes at least two healthy adults (working in shifts) to take care of one physically disabled elderly person who needs around the clock care. Considering this Japanese population distribution by age, this will be the norm in the near future.