Thanks to the Action Plan for Successful Ageing
IT’S no secret – Singapore is one of the fastest ageing populations in the world. The good news is that Singaporeans are enjoying longer and healthier lives, and support has been put in place to help us pursue our aspirations as we age.
In 2015, the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) launched the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, a national blueprint to make Singapore a better place to age in.
What’s the plan about? How has it changed the ageing experience?
Developed in consultation with government agencies, non-profit organisations, academia, businesses and the public, the Action Plan celebrates longevity and seeks to transform the ageing experience on three levels: individual, community and national.
At the individual level, a suite of preventive health and active ageing initiatives has been introduced to empower seniors to stay active and engaged so that they can continue to enjoy healthy and purposeful lives.
These include regular community health talks and exercise classes under the National Seniors’ Health Programme, lifelong learning opportunities offered by the National Silver Academy, volunteering experiences under the Community Befriending Programme and health programmes at the workplace for mature workers, just to name a few.
At the community level, concerted efforts have been made to foster a caring and inclusive society that respects and embraces our seniors, empowering and supporting them to age gracefully.
Heartlands with growing populations of seniors such as Yishun, MacPherson, Hong Kah North, Bedok, Queenstown, Fengshan, Bukit Batok East, Woodlands, Teck Ghee and Taman Jurong have been transformed into Dementia-Friendly Communities to support persons with dementia and their caregivers.
Inter-generational learning programmes have been introduced to bring students and seniors together, bridging the generation gap and strengthening the bond between young and old. To encourage greater inter-generational interactions, many senior care centres today are also co-located with childcare centres.
At the national level, the Ministry of Health has been enhancing aged care services to meet the social and care needs of our seniors. Besides having more nursing homes and centre-based care facilities, active ageing hubs have also been built within HDB estates to provide one-stop services to seniors in the community.
The Government has also been refreshing our housing estates, transport system and public amenities to ensure that seniors can move about safely and independently. Today, seniors can cross the road with greater peace of mind, thanks to initiatives like Silver Zones and Green Man Plus Crossings. They can also enjoy rejuvenating walks in therapeutic gardens and parks which have been specially equipped with senior-friendly features and fitness stations.
So… what’s next? Sharing is caring.
To quote that 1970s hit song by The Carpenters, “we’ve only just begun”.
To ensure that the Action Plan remains relevant to the evolving needs of seniors, Singaporeans from all walks of life have recently been invited to participate in a series of digital and in-person focus group discussions in the first quarter of 2021.
“We want to hear more from you and tap on your insights and ideas to co-create initiatives and programmes so we can continue to make Singapore a great place to age in together,” said Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health, Mr Masagos Zulkifli in a Facebook post after gracing the first feedback session. He is also the co-chair of the MCA.
Heartened by the participants’ ideas, energy and commitment, Minister Masagos added: “A whole-of-society effort will help us build an inclusive society that celebrates and embraces our seniors.”
The MCA and MOH will continue to hear from Singaporeans our views on how to support and empower seniors to enjoy better care, contribute meaningfully to society and stay connected with the community.
Look out for more updates on upcoming engagements on the I Feel Young SG website and Facebook page. Together, we can make Singapore a great place to live and age well in!
Article published on 27/01/2021