One of Singapore's priorities has been to engage the issue of a rapidly ageing population with increasing life expectancies. We can identify trends from countries such as Japan who are already tackling this phenomenon. To achieve “Successful Ageing in Singapore”, more research is being conducted to make this concept a reality for more people in Singapore.
Singapore has adopted an approach in managing the ageing population with the responsibility of the not just falling on the government but also involving other sectors such as community and family. Public input is sourced in policy formation, and on a more micro-level the government also emphasises the importance of the individual responsibility to contribute to ageing gracefully.
Singapore has been working towards affordable healthcare and eldercare. We can see initiatives that promote an individual's responsibility towards their own health, alongside community efforts to encourage older adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent the onset of diseases and illnesses. The aim is to therefore decrease the risk of older adults falling sick. Community and family are also expected to reiterate the importance of healthy and independent living.
Moving on to infrastructure, Singapore has developed elder-friendly housing, transport and land use. The Building Construction Authority (BCA) "Code on Barrier-Free Accessibility in Buildings” is in place to ensure adherence to accessibility standards.
In housing, the elderly have more flexible options when it comes to selecting apartments. The Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) was also implemented for existing estates for lifts to stop at every level, reducing a significant barrier to heading outdoors for elderly persons. The LTA has also constructed lifts and ensured sloping ramps in and around MRT stations, and provided for more accessible buses.
The community also supports the ageing population by providing learning programmes to encourage our older adults to stay active in their old age. An example of this is the YAH! (Young At Heart!) Community College (www.mpfsc.org.sg/yah/yah-index.htm), a learning programme for the elderly aged 50 and above to take part in various activities.
The government is also looking to tap on the knowledge and experience older adults as valuable resources. As such, the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (2005) was rolled out to support the employment, employability and productivity of older adults (Goh,2006).
It is encouraging to note that Singaporeans' mindsets are already changing and this continues to inspire us to work together to ensure that older adults can age successfully through the efforts and initiatives that are being implemented for them.
Goh, O. (2006, October 1). Successful Ageing — A Review of Singapore's Policy Approaches. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from https://www.cscollege.gov.sg/Knowledge/Ethos/Issue 1 Oct 2006/Pages/Successful-Ageing-A-Review-of-Singapores-Policy-Approaches.aspx
Managing Ageing Population. (2010, August 16). Retrieved October 2, 2015.
Ministry of Health Singapore. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2015.
Meeting Challenges of an Ageing Population. (n.d.). Retrieved October 1, 2015.