(Det talade ordet gäller)
Ladies and gentlemen.
Over the last decades, life expectancy has increased globally, and so has the proportion of elderly citizens – not least in countries like Japan and Sweden.
To mention just one number, by 2030, every fourth person in Sweden will be a senior – meaning 65 years or older.
This is, in essence, a positive development, as it means we get to spend more time with our loved ones. However, it also means that more and more people will be affected by dementia and other age-related conditions. Medical professionals, caregivers and politicians are all acutely aware of the social, medical and economical challenges that come with an ageing population.
We need to ensure that our society not only ages, but ages well – that it makes room for the elderly and respects their needs.
This is a matter of great importance to me personally. Over the past 20 years I have been working to raise awareness about the need for better care for our elderly and those suffering from dementia.
In 1996, I founded Silviahemmet; a non-profit foundation devoted to improving the quality of life for persons affected by dementia and their families.
Until today, the foundation has educated and certified more than 800 nurses and assistant nurses, more than 20 doctors and almost 60 nursing home units and hospital wards in dementia care. Silviahemmets education programs are also provided in other countries, including Japan.
Wanting to care for those who once took care of us; this is a universal human driving force – uniting us across countries and cultures. With this as our common goal, I believe we have much to gain by learning from each other.
Therefore, the establishment of a strategic partnership between the Stockholm universities and the prestigious University of Tokyo is a great success. By sharing knowledge and experiences, and by further developing projects together, the Tokyo and Stockholm researchers will continue to do important work for the people of Japan and Sweden. As we all know, the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts; by exchanging research results and developing comparisons, the work of the individual universities can have an even greater value.
Today’s workshop takes place here in Nobel Forum, named after Alfred Nobel. Through the years, there have been several Japanese scientists among the Nobel laureates. And, who knows… maybe one day the findings that will evolve from this new strategic partnership will bring us together in an even more festive Nobel setting?
With these words, I wish you all a most interesting and rewarding workshop.