Successful Aging for Singapore

The Committee on Aging Issues (CAI) is an inter-agency forum that serves to discuss and put up proposals related to population aging. It comprises of representation from the government, people, private, media and academic section.

One of its very vision is to better prepare Singapore for the opportunities and challenges of an aging population. The committee aims not only to knit closer family ties, but also to construct an extensive network of community services in order to supplement the elderly’s independence and foster a stronger sense of community belonging. Society must also be sufficiently prepared for the “Silver Tsunami” in order to achieve “Successful Aging for Singapore.”

Fundamentally, the CAI views the seniors as active contributors rather than passive members of society. They believe that national policies must cater to not only the frail and ill, but also to the well and healthy. Families are regarded as the first line of care, providing support as the main care-giver of the elderly. In the absence of the families, the community will acts as a safety net while institutionalization remains a last resort.

Collective responsibility from individual, family and community level represents one of the key guiding principles of the committee in shaping its approach. Altogether, there are 4 strategic concepts adopted by the CAI to manage the entailing opportunities and challenges of an aging society;

1) Elderly-friendly living environment

Inserting senior-friendly features into residences and estates to improve the standards of aging-in-place. More importantly, community-based living also offers a familiar surrounding that provides mental and emotional support  to the elderly.

2) Barrier-free accessibility

Refurbishing the current state of environment into one that is tailored to the mobility requirements of an aging society. This includes public amenities, community facilities and transportation nationwide to ensure that the elderly are able to resume their community and private activities just like any other person.

3) Comprehensive yet affordable health and eldercare services

Elder-care services and programmes must be coordinated to ensure a smooth transition between step-down healthcare facilities and community-based elder-care facilities.

4) Active lifestyle and well-being

A greater range of options in leisure activities, learning choices, as well as engagement and
volunteer opportunities must be provided to leverage on the energy and experience of the elderly.

To sum it up, these 4 strategies are all equally important in order to achieve the objective of “Successful Aging for Singapore.” In some cases, these efforts may also be useful to other groups. For instance, a barrier-free environment is beneficial to the disability group as well.

Next week, we will explore these approaches in greater depths and look at the ongoing works of the CAI to brace Singapore for impact from the imminent “Silver Tsunami.”

(Source: Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports: Committee on Ageing Issues)

(Image source: Red Lantern Images)

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