Watch and Listen

1. Watch the video. Write T (true) or F (false) next to the statements. Correct the false statements.

___ 1   Wakamiya worked in technology before she retired.

___ 2   She always enjoyed working with computers.

___ 3   Designers were not interested in creating games and apps for the elderly.

___ 4   She taught herself Apple’s coding language.

___ 5   Wakamiya’s app uses figures from science fiction.

2. Watch again. Complete the notes.

Masako Wakamiya worked as a banker until she was 1____________ years old. After she retired, she took care of 2____________. In order to keep her mind active, she 3____________. She tried different apps for her smartphone, but one thing that disappointed her was that they were 4____________. The app designers she contacted 5____________, so she decided to 6____________. She designed an app that used figures from 7____________ in a game. When he saw Wakamiya’s app, Tim Cook, the head of Apple, invited her to 8____________ conference.



1 F; Wakamiya worked in banking before she retired.

2 F; She had never used a computer before she retired.

3 T   4 T  

5 F; Wakamiya’s app uses figures from traditional Japanese culture.


1 sixty   2 her elderly mother   3 bought a computer

4 designed for young people   5 weren’t interested

6 design her own app   7 the Japanese festival Hinamatsuri   

8 an app developers’ conference


Never too old to code

Narrator:   Masako Wakamiya has always been a woman of action, ready to take on challenges. She was a banker before it was common for women in Japan to have such jobs, and when she retired at 60, she began a new chapter in her life, with new challenges. She had never used a computer before, but she read that using a computer could help her connect with other people while she stayed at home to look after her elderly mother. So, she bought one. Over the next 20 years, she taught herself about computers and the internet. She got a smartphone and started using apps, but she found that everything was designed for young people. She knew that older people could learn to use technology, and even have fun doing it, if someone designed with them in mind.

She contacted app designers and asked them to develop games for older users, but no one was interested. So, she did what she had always done: she did it herself. She learned Apple’s coding language so she could develop an app for the iPhone. She used content that is familiar to older Japanese users: figures from the Japanese festival Hinamatsuri, or Doll’s Day. One this day, dolls are placed on a platform in a specific order. In Wakamiya’s game, the goal is to place all the figures in the correct order. The game is harder than it sounds; the arrangements are complex.

Tim Cook, the head of Apple, heard about Wakamiya and her app. Calling her work ‘inspiring,’ he invited her to an app developers’ conference. At 82, she was the oldest participant.

Describing her experience developing the app, Wakamiya recalls:

Wakamiya:   Elderly people don’t play games on their phones much because games aren’t interesting for them. I’ve heard a lot of people say that. So, I thought it would be nice if there were some apps which elderly people could enjoy. This game is based on traditional Japanese culture. I wanted to tell the next generation about traditional culture. I thought that making a game and letting young people play it would be easier than explaining culture to them. When I first saw the pictures moving, I was really impressed. First, I create the images. Then I run the simulation and they start moving and talking. It’s really impressive. Programming is the best way for me to feel a sense of achievement.

Listening 1

1. Listen to the podcast about retirement and the elderly. Tick (✓) the topics discussed.

 a comparison of past and present retirement

 the financial and social problems of care for the elderly

 an example of an enjoyable retirement

 problems experienced travelling abroad

 the effects of increased health and fitness

 the role of pensioners in their grandchildren’s lives

7    a prediction about retirement

 advice on how to save money

2. Listen to the podcast again. Complete the notes with the numbers you hear.

Spending power of the over-60s in the UK:

Assets as a group – over 1£____________

Last year – 2____________% of all consumer spending

Average married person aged 65-74 spends 3____________% of income on food and entertainment

Rick and Nadia Jones:

Retirement age – 4____________

Value of home – about 5£____________

Outlook for the next generation:

6____________ of parents plan to leave their home, but no money, to their children

7____________% of Europeans 65 and over are still working



Tick: 1, 3, 5, 6, 7


1 500 billion   2 60   3 26   4 65   5 500,000

6 2/3 / two-thirds   7 18


Host:   Hello and welcome to the Money and Finance podcast. I’m your host, Ian Brown, and today’s topic is retirement. In the past, giving up work in their sixties signalled the end of an active, exciting life for people. It was seen as a time for staying at home, doing the gardening and being very careful with money. Twenty years ago, most people planned to leave a large sum of money to their children upon their death and didn’t spend a lot on themselves once they started to receive a pension.

But times have changed. People nowadays don’t usually think of their sixties as old. People who have exercised and eaten a good diet throughout their lives have plenty of energy to enjoy life, no matter what age they retire at. Many of today’s older people see retirement as a reward for a lifetime of hard work and, rather than saving their money to give to their children, they’re spending it – on luxuries, travel, new cars and meals out, and because they worked hard and saved hard for their retirement, they have plenty of money to spend. As a group, the over-60s in the UK have over 500 billion pounds in assets: property, money in the bank, investments and so on. Last year, they spent £240 billion on leisure, accounting for more than 60% of all consumer spending. This included £345 million on meals out and £535 million on travel. The average married person between the ages of 65 and 74 spent 26% of their household income on food and entertainment.

Rick and Nadia Jones are typical of this new approach to retirement. I asked them to share their thoughts.

Nadia:   Well, in my working life I was a banker and Rick was in business. We both retired at 65, and since that time we’ve travelled a lot and have had years of fun and excitement. A lot of our friends are doing the same. We’re still healthy and we love travelling, so why shouldn’t we? I had to persuade Rick to agree to the idea at first. It just wasn’t like that for our parents. However, we’ve managed to save enough money to permit us to live the life we’ve always wanted, and I think we’ve earned it.

Rick:   We’ve been to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – and Nadia loves the weather in Dubai! We’ve been there three times.

Host:   According to one survey, 20 years ago most of today’s older people believed they would work in the garden, read and babysit their grandchildren. However, retired people now want to do more exciting things! Do you agree with this?

Nadia:   I do, I think. We worked hard during our careers to ensure that our two daughters had a good education. They’re both married and working now. I want to be involved in my children’s lives, but I do also want adventure! We live close to both our daughters and offer to babysit our grandchildren regularly, but we’re not free childminders!

Rich:   Exactly. We don’t have any dependents anymore. Our daughters need to work hard and save their money, just as we’ve done. Our savings allow us to do what we want to do. This is our chance to have some fun, and we don’t want to stay at home all day gardening and watching television. Our daughters have agreed to support our choices, and we hope they’ll make the same choices for themselves one day.

Nadia:   I think our parents’ generation thought it was really important to save for the next generation, to give money to their children, but our generation doesn’t think that way.

Rick:   We’ve talked to our daughters about it. They understand that the money is ours to spend. They also understand that as long as we’re in shape and healthy, we might as well enjoy life. Our home is also worth about £500,000. We are not planning on selling it, so they’ll get that eventually.

Host:   Recent research shows that about two-thirds of older people agree with Rick and Nadia and plan to leave their home to their children, but no money. But what about the next generation? Today’s working generation is probably facing a more difficult retirement than their parents. Pensions are getting smaller, many companies are no longer providing pensions at all and the average age of retirement is increasing. According to the United Nations, about 18% of Europeans ages 65 and over are still working, but that number is increasing. By the year 2030, more than 20% of European people aged 65 and over will still have regular jobs. Should these parents be doing more? Rick?

Rick:   I think we both feel we’ve done our bit as parents. We have many happy, healthy years ahead of us and still have other things we want to do with our lives, and now we’re doing them. I’d advise everyone else to do the same.

Listening 2

1. Listen to two students, Mika and Ahmet, give presentation on the situation for elderly people in their countries. Create a T-chart to take notes on the information each student presents.

2. Use your notes from Exercise 1 to answer the questions.

1   Where is each speaker from?

      Mike: ________

      Ahmet: __________

2   Who focuses on the changing situation of the elderly? ________

3   Who focuses on how the elderly are cared for? _______

4   What are their main points?

      Mike: ___________________________________

      Ahmet: _____________________________________

3. Use your notes from Exercise 1 to complete the details in the table. Then listen again to check your answer.







population today



% 65 or older today



% of households with older people

no information


expected population in 2050



Expected % age 65 or older in 2050





Answers will vary. Possible answers:

Mika, Japan

Importance of family: – extended family not so important

Figures explaining how population is changing:

– highest life expectancy in the world

– low fertility rate

– people wait longer to get married

– fewer young people to care for elderly

– more care centres

Solution: – government has citizens pay income tax to help elderly

Ahmet, Turkey

Most households have elderly people living in them.

Drawbacks: – caregivers and old people aren’t free to do what they like

– older people don’t like how things are done

– living closely together causes tensions

Benefits: – older people help with domestic jobs and childcare

– older people have a sense of responsibility

Challenge: – elderly population is growing

Solution: – continue caring for elderly at home


1 Mika: Japan; Ahmet: Turkey   2 Mika   3 Ahmet

4 Mika: importance of family in her country, how population is changing with fewer young people and how government is helping by making citizens pay a tax;

Ahmet: drawbacks and benefits of older people living in households with younger people, challenges of the situation and possible solutions








population today

127 million

81 million

% 65 or older today



% of households with older people

no information


expected population in 2050

99 million

92 million

Expected % age 65 or older in 2050




Mika:   Hello. My name is Mika. I’m going to discuss how things are changing for elderly people in Japan. I’ll begin by explaining the importance of family in Japan and present some figures that explain how the population is changing. Finally, I’ll talk about the way the Japanese government is dealing with the ageing population.

Family in Japan has been very important since the days of my ancestors. However, while the extended family is very important in other countries, the focus in Japan is on the bond among children, parents, grandparents, and so on. Of course, this means that in many cases, when elderly people can no longer take care of themselves, they move in with their children.

Japan’s population is about 127 million, and it has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. If you look at the data I’ve provided, you will note that it indicates there were about 33 million people in 2014 over the age of 65 in Japan, nearly 26% of the population. By 2050, Japan’s population will be about 99 million and 35% of the population will be over 65. The population of children under the age of 14 is expected to fall from about 19 million to about 18 million in 2020 and 12 million by 2050. This can be traced back to a low fertility rate, that is, the number of children being born to a woman during the time she is able to have children. That fertility rate has dropped to just below 1.5 children per woman. Young Japanese people are waiting longer than their parents’ generation to get married and, when they do, they’re having fewer children. Young people now enjoy a lot of free time in their twenties and thirties, but this also results in the same issues that other countries are facing: more and more elderly people to take care of, with fewer younger people to be providers. As the population of Japan is set to decrease by 22% by 2050, this means a loss of about 28 million residents.

The Japanese government has taken steps to deal with the situation. Most Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 65 pay an income tax that goes to help those over 65. The over-65s don’t get the money directly, but the government supports them. Even elderly people living at home with family have a care worker who makes sure they have everything they need. Some elderly people go to a day-care centre a few times a week, where they can share meals and participate in social activities. Those elderly people who don’t live with family generally live in institutions, like care homes, with about nine people living in one home. Each ahs a bedroom, and they share a living room and kitchen. This enables them to have some independence and to feel cared for at the same time.

Ahmet:   My name is Ahmet. Thank you, Mika, for your interesting presentation. My topic today is how elderly people are cared for in Turkey. First, I’ll give some background on how the elderly are usually cared for. After that, I’ll talk about some of the drawbacks and benefits of this system, and I’ll finish by explaining the challenges ahead.

Mika explained that many elderly people in Japan live in institutions when their ability to care for themselves declines. Moving old people into care homes allows the younger generation to continue their lives without having to worry about daily care for an ageing parent. However, in Turkey, 80% of households have an older person. Many families see this as the natural solution to dealing with old age. As parents, we devote ourselves to our children. In turn, as adults, we devote ourselves to our ageing parents. Most people my age have a grandparent living at home.

The system has drawbacks, both for the families caring for elderly people and for the elderly people themselves. Those responsible for the welfare of an elderly person can feel that they aren’t free to do as they like in their own home. The older people being cared for may also not feel completely free and dislike the way things are done by their caregivers. Living closely together in forced circumstances can raise tensions. However, there are many benefits to these arrangements. In many households, older people contribute to the family by participating in domestic jobs and helping with childcare. This gives them something to do and a sense of responsibility.

Turkey’s population is just over 81 million today. If you look at the graph I’ve provided, you will see that more than 5 million people, or around 6%, are over 65. This is much lower than Japan’s 26%. UN projections indicate that by 2050, Turkey’s population will reach 92 million and about 18 million people, or 20% of the total, will be over 65. So we can see that in the long-term, the same challenges lie ahead for Turkey as for Japan. However, for now, the solution is for Turks to continue caring for the elderly at home.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This