Friday, July 31, 2009


The population of Singapore is ageing rapidly. Today one in 12 Singaporeans is aged 65 and older. This figure is projected to rise to one in five in 2030. In absolute terms, this means an increase from 300,000 people today who are aged 65+ to 900,000 by 2030. The government is well aware of the opportunities that this 'silver tsunami' will bring, but at the same time it also recognizes the strain an ageing society will have on the country’s economic and social infrastructure.
It is a challenge that the Singapore government is well-prepared to handle. To quote Mr Lim Boon Heng (see pic), the minister in charge of ageing issues in the Prime Minister’s office, “We will develop Singapore as a thriving business and research centre on ageing.”

Here is a brief outline on how the Ministerial Committee on Ageing plans to tackle issues on ageing.

~ The Ministry of Manpower will push for legislation in 2012 to encourage companies to hire or retain their older workers.

~ The Ministry of Health will add more than 2000 nursing home beds over the next five years, a second heart and cancer centre, a new general hospital in Yishun and in Jurong and the expansion of the National University Health System’s dental centre.

~ From 2013 the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Life Scheme will be set up to provide contributors a regular income for the rest of their lives.

~ The Housing Development Board (HDB) will increase efforts to raise awareness of their new Lease Buyback Scheme which allows elderly owners of smaller flats to sell to the HDB the tail-end of their lease at market rate. Proceeds will be used to buy an annuity from the CPF Board.

~ All HDB precincts will be barrier-free by 2011.

~ More day-care centres for seniors will be set up in the next five years.

~ Caregivers, including maids who look after the elderly at home, will be given basic training in nursing skills.

Distributing food essentials to the elderly.

~ Within the next 15 to 20 years Singapore will have a fully developed system of 3Es.
1. Elderfund helps the elderly poor pay their hospital bills.
2. Eldershield is insurance for severe disability.
3. Eldersave encourages the young to set aside enough CPF funds to provide for their healthcare needs in their old age.

~ To improve elder care, Singapore will expand its current pool of 200 medical workers and provide them with clinical attachments and postgraduate training.

(The above news snippets were sourced from The Straits Times. Based on the government’s past track record, the future of Singapore’s senior citizens certainly looks promising.)

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