Japan's welfare ministry says the number of households receiving assistance hit a record high in the fiscal year ending in March 2018.
The ministry puts the monthly average number of households on welfare for fiscal 2017 at 1,640,854. That's up about 3,800 from the figure for the previous fiscal year.
Households with members aged 65 or older accounted for around 865,000 of the total, up by about 28,000. More than 90 percent of them were single person households.
A state-run research institute predicts one in five male seniors and one in four female seniors will live alone in 2040.
Analysts say the government faces the challenge of coming up with measures to deal with poverty among the elderly.