$3billion Action Plan to Enable Singaporeans To Age Successfully

1.    The Ministerial Committee on Ageing today unveiled key new features of a $3billion national plan to help Singaporeans age confidently and lead active lives, with strong bonds with family and community.

2.    The Action Plan for Successful Ageing, which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned in his National Day Rally speech, includes about 60 initiatives covering 12 areas, namely, health and wellness, learning, volunteerism, employment, housing, transport, public spaces, respect and social inclusion, retirement adequacy, healthcare and aged care, protection for vulnerable seniors and research. It comes after a year-long series of consultations involving over 4,000 Singaporeans and grassroots leaders by the Ministerial Committee and its partners.

3.    Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister-in-Charge of Ageing and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Ageing, said that, “ We need to plan ahead to ensure that Singaporeans need not worry about getting old but instead embrace new opportunities that come with longevity. We want Singapore to be the best place for Singaporeans to grow old in, and a model for successful ageing.”

4.    The Action Plan aims to build “A Nation for All Ages”, with its initiatives focused on three key areas:

First, at the individual level, helping Singaporeans live long, live well and age confidently;

Second, at the community level, to build a cohesive society with inter-generational harmony;

Third, at the city level, to build an age-friendly city that enables seniors to live actively and age-in-place confidently.

Thrust One: Providing “Opportunities for All Ages”

5.    The Action Plan contains over 20 initiatives to create more opportunities for seniors to keep healthy, continue learning and developing as they enjoy many more years of healthy life. The key initiatives include:

a.    A new ‘National Silver Academy’ will be set-up to offer a wide range of learning opportunities for seniors to learn for interest and to stay active. It aims to provide more than 30,000 places for seniors by 2030. The Academy will comprise a network of institutions such as Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), community organisations and post-secondary education institutions. Programmes offered under the Academy will include the Intergenerational Learning Programme (ILP) developed by the Council for Third Age (C3A). C3A aims to reach out to a total of 100 schools and VWOs/community organisations to come on board the ILP.

b.     The President’s Challenge will champion a national movement of senior volunteerism, to encourage an additional 50,000 seniors to contribute their talents and experience to community development by 2030.

c.    A National Seniors’ Health Programme will be launched to empower at least 400,000 seniors aged 50 years or older by 2030 to age more healthily. The national programme will include healthy lifestyle campaigns and activities in the community as well as targeted interventions for mature workers at workplaces. The series of campaigns and initiatives will cover key aspects of seniors’ health such as nutrition, dementia and physical activity, to empower seniors to take charge of their health and remain healthy and fit.

d.    The re-employment age will be raised from 65 to 67 by 2017 to enable workers to work longer if they are willing and able to.

Thrust 2: Creating a “Kampong for All Ages”

6.    The Action Plan contains initiatives to foster a cohesive society and strengthen inter-generational harmony. Seniors in Singapore should age well without being lonely, in a society that cares for and respects seniors. The key initiatives include:

a.    Co-locating eldercare and childcare facilities in new HDB developments to maximise opportunities for inter-generational interactions. Childcare and senior centres will be co-located in some 10 new HDB BTO projects in the next 10 years to provide opportunities for inter-generational bonding. MOH will also encourage existing operators of eldercare facilities to introduce innovative programming that allow the young and old to interact.

b.    A “PAssion Silver” Card will be issued free to every Singaporean aged 60 and above or as they turn 60 years old, to serve as a clear age identifier for the people, public and private sectors to offer privileges to our seniors in honour of them. The People’s Association (PA) will work with its community, corporate and merchant partners, while the Singapore Business Federation will encourage businesses and Trade Associations and Chambers to support this initiative. The year-long privileges and benefits for card-holders could include priority queues and special discounts at participating stores.

Thrust Three: Developing a “City for All Ages”

7.     The Action Plan includes over 30 initiatives to transform our city to be an enabling place for Singaporeans to grow old in, to allow seniors to live independently, confidently and gracefully in their homes or in communities familiar to them. The key initiatives include:

a.     A transport plan to refresh MRT, bus, pedestrian and road infrastructure in the next ten years to be more senior-friendly. The plan addresses feedback that the Land Transport Authority has received to make public transport safer, more comfortable and more accessible for seniors, such as having more intuitive signs for easier navigation at transport nodes, and to provide lifts at pedestrian overhead bridges used frequently by seniors.

b.    “Active Ageing Hubs” will be pre-built into new HDB developments.  At least 10 future HDB housing developments will have these hubs which are bigger than existing Senior Activity Centres. These active ageing hubs can provide both active ageing programmes for active and ambulant seniors, as well as day care, day rehabilitation and assisted living services (such as housekeeping and grocery-shopping) for seniors who are frail. These hubs can also be the venues for social and learning activities for all ages.

c.    NParks will progressively enhance our network of parks to incorporate more senior-friendly amenities such as upgraded toilets, footpaths, lightings and exercise equipment. NParks also seeks to pilot pocket therapeutic gardens to support the care of seniors with dementia and stroke.

d.    Up to $200Mil may be set aside for a National Innovation Challenge to catalyse research related to ageing.  This initiative complements our Smart Nation ambition and is aimed at encouraging the research community to innovate to transform the experience of ageing.

8.  The full Action Plan report will be released next year. It will serve as the blueprint to help Singapore transform into a Nation for All Ages – a best place for Singaporeans to grow old in, and an icon for successful ageing in the region.

 

MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON AGEING

26 AUGUST 2015

 

For more information, please refer to the full press release and info-graphics on the Action Plan.

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