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Aging Policy and Practice in Asian Context

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What are some qualities or desires of the future cohort of seniors that will affect the short- and long-term housing planning vision of Singapore (e. g. more studio apartments, retirement village model, group-living, high-rise mega nursing home model)? In designing housing policy, what are the various stakeholders’ views and interests that should be taken into consideration? In considering the viable future solutions consider the pros and cons of the various models of housing for older people. Singapore is aging rapidly. Data from Singapore Department of Statistic (2017a) shows that residents aged 65 years and over has to constitute 13. 0% proportion of the total population in 2017, there is a great increase compared to 8. 5% in 2007. Report from United nations (2017) expected that 28. 6% of Singaporeans will be aged 65 and over in 2050. Since the 1980s, Singapore government had identified the challenges and developed approaches to meet the needs of the aging population but still need more to be done. Because of the quality and desires of the cohort of seniors are changing with the economic and social development. Quality and desires of the future cohort of seniors that will affect housing planning

1. Decreasing old-age support ratio

Old age support ratio is the ratio of the working-age population (e. g. aged 20-64 years) per person aged 65 years and over. In Singapore, old-age support ratio is steadily decreasing over the past decades (Singapore Department of statistics, 2017d). From 13. 5 in 1970s to 5. 1 in 2017, as expected by united nations (2017) the old-support ratio will be decreased to 2. 0 in 2050. Low fertility rate and longer life expectancy are the main factors contribute to this trend. Statistics from department of statistic Singapore states that the fertility rate is decreasing in Singapore which came to the lowest point in 2017, it’s 1. 16 per female compared to 2. 1 in 1970s (United Nations, 2017). This may due to high pressure from work, high cost of infant and childcare etc. . . Another factor that contribute to decreasing support ratio is longer life expectancy. Expected life expectancy will be 82. 9 in 2050, compared to 70. 8 in 1979s (United Nations, 2017). Decline of old-age support ratio will lead to poor care support for older adults. Thus, more formal caregivers are required to take care of the older adults in future. Institutionalisation should be considered if there are not enough care givers at home. And There is a need to have more nursing homes in future to provide care for the senior citizens.

2. Higher educated

Statistics shows that there is an improvement in education attainment from past to future. For resident population aged 25 and over, there are 52. 8% of them had at least post-secondary qualification in 2016, higher than 36. 7% in 2006; the proportion of diploma and professional qualification increased from 10. 8% to 14. 7%; the proportion of university graduates rose from 19. 6% to 29. 1% (Singapore Department of statistics, 2017b). All the data is reflecting that the future cohort seniors are higher educated. Education plays a crucial role in various aspects of life. It will affect employment throughout the life. Crawforf, Gregg, Macmillan, Vignoles, & Wynes (2016) stated that people with higher education have more career opportunities, thus they may have more stable income and accrued wealth. When it comes to housing, with enough money, future cohort of seniors may consider to live in a more comfortable place. Many of them are able to afford the house with better facilities. Besides that, education also influence person’s value, nature and extent of their interpersonal relationships (Hermalin and Yang, 2004), they may need more space and chance to interact with others, it should be considered when plan future housing. With higher education, future seniors are more likely and easily to accept new technologies. And in future, technologies may play an important role in supporting and caring for seniors. More new and advanced technologies should be involved when planning future housing.

3. Healthier

Ministry Of Social and Family Development (2011) report showed that about 96 per cent of seniors are ambulant and physically Independent. Compared with NSSC report 2005, there is a change from about 87%. Another data from UN showed that expected survival rate of residents aged 65 and above is 90. 8 in 2050, compared to 84. 6 in 2005. The future seniors are healthier due to early detection, effective prevention measure and advance medical treatment. With healthier live, futures seniors will wan to remain active, our housing policy must consider this factor in. more services, facilities and on-site care management should be provided to enhance health status for seniors. Retirement village might be able to be a good choice.

4. Trend of staying alone

In 2006, 16. 7% of the residents aged 65 and over stay alone, the proportion is increasing to 19% in 2016. And more Singaporeans trend to be unmarried, statistic from population trend (2017c) shows that resident population aged 15 and over, 60. 8% were married in 2006, in 2016, the marriage rate is 59. 5%. This status speaks to the trend of staying alone. Another reason that contribute to this status is the changing mind of Singaporean, with more developed economic, more Singaporean’s mind is open and many of the young generation choose to work and study in overseas, lead more elderly stays alone. Staying alone speaks to the smaller size and less social support. Housing policy should consider this in as well. To develop more policies that encourage children to stay with their parents. And more senior community such as group-living is needed to address the need of companion and emotional support from peers for those who are single with no child. And it’s necessary to build an environment with sufficient and easily-accessible facilities and services for seniors.

The various stakeholders’ views and interests that should be taken into consideration for various models if housing for seniors. In order to achieve the “Successful Ageing for Singapore”, all levels of society must take responsibilities and be well-prepared for the challenges of an ageing Singapore.

1. Develop a more accessible environment for seniors

Due to different health status, personal values, family structures and other emotional differences, diverse group of seniors have different needs. In designing a housing policy, all their physical social, emotional need have to be considered in. to provide more options of housing to meet these needs. For “aging in place” concept, it requires the stakeholder to consider to provide safe and accessible environment for seniors. More facilities to promote physical well-being, such as public amenities, communal and recreational facilities. More medical care services should be built that near their house to promote early detection of disease and prompt treatment. In order to meet their social and emotional needs, physical infrastructure in the community, including transport and public access infrastructure is the must that should be considered when designing house policy. These will allow seniors to maintain the links to friends, family and the community. It will help them to access the support from outside and promote their independence. To consider pros and cons from seniors’ physical, social, emotional perspectives are necessary when it comes to housing policy design.

2. Use available land wisely

As the total population is increasing in Singapore, more HDB and other types of house are required to meet the living needs. However, Singapore is a small island of 721. 5 Square Kilometers (Data Government of Singapore, 2017). Land use is one of the aspects that stakeholder should consider when designing house policy. Group-living or other types of housing that allow seniors to grow older in a familiar environment, community with minimal changes of their living environment. However, this may require more land to use in building new facilities and house.

3. Consider financial aspect as well Singapore is a successful nation of homeowner.

A study shows that 88% of HDB households with the youngest lessee aged 65 years and above have fully discharged their HDB mortgage loans. But many of the seniors have to work until they are unable to, in order to support their– own daily expenses. A lot of these seniors are ‘asset-rich, cash-poor’. To promote “aging in place” not only create better physical environment for them, also have to consider their financial aspect. To provide favorable house for them to stay is an importance part, when design house policy. To provide more rental options for elderly to age in place. Moreover, encourage seniors to monetize their flat, such as design policies to promote them to downgrade to smaller flat, help them to get back money for their daily expenses. And shortening land leases as another way that can help release their pressure from house loan. In conclusion, Singapore is a small island with large aging population. Individual, community, private sector and government have to take their own responsibilities and roles to face the challenges in future and promote aging in place. In designing of house policy, holistic aspects should be considered to benefit future seniors better. Q2. Considering the increasing widespread use of smart technology and devices: What aspect of growing old in a highly urbanized environment will benefit from this? What will not? To what extent can technology help to address the ageing issue in Singapore?Smart technology is developing at a fast pace in the past decade. In Singapore, with highly urbanized environment, technology have been used in many areas. technology change the way we interact with the world. Aging is one of the challenges that Singapore is facing now, not all aging population will benefit from technology, there are some advantages as well. In Singapore, in order to promote better aging, the government had developed many approaches to ensure “aging in place”.

Using of technologies are making this concept possible. Promote Health and WellnessWith rapid aging population, chronic diseases accounted for 83% of all deaths in 2016 in Singapore (World Health Organization, 2016). Close and regular monitoring are necessary for those elderly. Technology that used in this area helps to promote integrated and continuity care. Telegeriatric is one of the piolet projects that is conducting by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) with St. Josephs Nursing Home. –2 Without long distance traveling, Dr are able to monitor and treat patient via video-link technology. It reduces cost and saves time for Drs to review more cases. Especially, It benefits patients who are bedbound or restricted mobility. Other technologies that used in health care also benefits elderly a lot. Such as bill box that promote medication adherence for elderly who care unable to remember to take medications. Electronic medical record helps Dr to track patients records. Thus, technology promote elderly’s health and wellness. Promote Safety and Security Advanced technology that used to maintain safety and security are benefits elderly a lot. Security system that used at home help their children to detect any health issues via cameras and communication system. Sensors that used in hospital and nursing home, help healthcare workers to monitor patient’s movement, especially used foe fall prevention. It will reduce incidence of fall. Thus, technology helps in promoting safety and security.

Social Engagement

Social engagement for some of the elderly are limited due to health status, some of them unable to go out to meet friends due to limited mobility, even worse some of them unable to sit up to talk to the family. older adults are more likely to suffer from depression (ACCESS Health International, 2014). With advanced technologies, elderlies are able to communicate with their friends, family members via phone call, emails or other types of APP. Online chat, online education that made it possible for them to connect with the community. It has led to an increase in reliance of technology on the maintenance of communication and relationships between people (Wood, 2010). Even though, technology play an important role nowadays, but still have unable to meet all the needs of elderly. Some of the advantages Unable to maintain Privacy With smart technology, older adults are well monitored by cameras, sensors and other devices. However, maintaining their privacy become another concern.

Electronic medical record that be shared within hospitals and clinics put patient’s privacy at risk. Unable to provide emotional support By using technology, elderly is able to communicate with friends and family members. However, it can not maintain our interpersonal relationships and communication skills by texting and messaging. Less physical contact makes emotional support limited. In Singapore, technology helps in addressing aging issues in certain ways. As we known, the old age support ration is decreasing in Singapore, butt adult children have to work to support the family financially. Lack of caregiver is a big issue for many families, using of technology can help them to monitor their parents while working and reduce the cost of hiring helper. Due to aging population, numbers of patient with chronic disease care increasing as well, there is a high demand on hospitalization, follow-ups, monitoring of conditions, using of technology will make it easier. And it will save Dr’s time and patients’ cost.

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Aging Policy and Practice in Asian Context. (2019, September 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from
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