Active ageing is of immense significance for seniors as it promotes physical health by encouraging regular exercise, safeguards mental well-being by reducing the risk of cognitive decline, enhances their quality of life, and fosters independence and autonomy.
It combats loneliness through social interactions, reduces healthcare costs, fosters community engagement, and enables lifelong learning. Active seniors contribute to the economy and serve as positive role models, challenging stereotypes about ageing.
Ultimately, active ageing can increase the likelihood of a longer, healthier life by reducing the risk of chronic diseases and improving overall well-being.
While the main focus of active ageing is the seniors, we cannot discredit the roles of the Caregivers who are integral to seniors’ well-being and provide a range of essential services.
They offer physical assistance with daily activities like dressing, bathing, and eating, ensuring seniors can maintain their independence and quality of life. Caregivers also help seniors manage their medications, reducing the risk of health complications.
Beyond the physical, they provide crucial emotional support, alleviating loneliness and depression through companionship and empathetic listening. Caregivers contribute to safety by preventing accidents and monitoring for potential hazards, ultimately reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
They help seniors maintain a balanced diet, play a pivotal role in promoting social interaction, and keep track of health conditions and vital signs. Additionally, caregivers offer transportation to appointments and social outings, act as advocates during healthcare interactions, and provide respite for family caregivers, preventing burnout.
Their respectful care upholds seniors’ dignity, ultimately enhancing their overall quality of life while offering peace of mind for both seniors and their families.
With the help of these caregivers, they are able to provide the seniors with these benefits:
- Improved physical health
- Enhanced mental and cognitive function
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases
- Increased social engagement and participation
- Improved quality of life
Benefits of keeping seniors physically healthy
Keeping elders in good physical health will bring a multitude of advantages to society as a whole, which include alleviating the healthcare burden by requiring less extensive medical care and allowing for more efficient allocation of healthcare resources.
Their continued participation in the workforce or volunteer activities enhances economic productivity and lessens the dependency ratio on the working-age population.
Socially, they can also engage in community activities, volunteer work, and provide support to their family members, easing the work of caretakers, fostering social cohesion, and strengthening intergenerational relationships.
Healthy elders serve as inspirational role models, motivating individuals of all ages to prioritise physical health and well-being by staying active.
Good physical health for these seniors also improves the quality of life for seniors and their families and creates a more balanced life.
It can also lead to reduced healthcare costs by lowering the need for expensive medical interventions and long-term care.
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer are the leading cause of death and disability among older adults. Active ageing can help to prevent or manage these diseases by reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Overall, elders in good physical health contribute to a healthier, more productive, and socially connected community, while also reducing the healthcare burden and enriching the quality of life for individuals of all ages.
To encourage seniors to maintain active lifestyles, the department offers a wide variety of programmes to promote lifelong learning, healthy living, social networking, and intergenerational bonding, which you can find more about it here.
Mental and Cognitive Function Benefits
Maintaining the mental and cognitive functions of elders through the process of active ageing has been shown to have a number of positive benefits for seniors and our society as a whole.
Having them put their minds to work can help improve memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. It can also help reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Active ageing can also help improve mood and well-being. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also promote a sense of purpose and satisfaction in life.
Retaining their cognitive and mental functions can allow seniors to pass down their knowledge, skills, and experiences to younger generations. This knowledge transfer is vital for the preservation of cultural, experiential, and life wisdom, ensuring that valuable insights are not lost.
Encouraging seniors to engage in lifelong learning not only benefits their cognitive health but also fosters a culture of ongoing education. This can inspire younger generations to adopt a similar approach to personal growth and development. Silver Activities is one of the many online platforms that offer activities for elders to take on to keep their minds active and engaged.
Social Engagement and Participation Benefits
Active ageing can help older adults stay socially engaged and participate in their communities. Social engagement helps combat social isolation, a significant concern among seniors. Isolation can lead to negative health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. By remaining socially active, seniors are at a reduced risk of isolation, leading to better overall mental and emotional well-being.
There are many ways for older adults to stay socially engaged and participate in their communities. For example, they can volunteer, join social clubs, or take part in educational or recreational activities.
Seniors who maintain their social engagement are generally more self-reliant and have a reduced need for social support services. This leads to cost savings for the government, the community support programmes, and their family.
Keeping the elders socially engaged can help to improve the quality of life of the older adults, as it gives the elderly a sense of purpose and a reason to look forward to each day. This can lead to increased life satisfaction and a more positive outlook on life.
Regular social interactions can help reduce the risk of developing depression and anxiety. Being part of a social network provides emotional support and a sense of belonging, which are protective factors against these mental health issues and also allow older adults to feel connected to their families, friends, and communities.
Encouraging and supporting social interactions among older adults is a valuable investment in their well-being and the well-being of the broader community.
How to Get Started with Active Ageing
If you are an older adult, there are many things you can do to get started with active ageing. Here are a few tips:
- Talk to your doctor before starting any new physical activity programme.
- Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your activities over time.
- Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.
- Find a workout buddy or join a fitness class to help you stay motivated.
- Make sure to include a variety of activities in your routine, such as cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
- Get involved in social activities and volunteer opportunities.
Active ageing benefits are not just a great way to improve your physical and mental health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, stay socially engaged, and maintain your independence.
With every healthy senior, it eases the strain on the healthcare system, encourages seniors to extend their participation in the workforce, and reduces healthcare costs, allowing for resource allocation in other essential areas.
It also maintains the emotional and mental well-being of seniors, lessening the support burden on family members and caregivers which will also encourage the seniors to be more independent in taking care of themselves.
Socially, active seniors can enrich the community by fostering intergenerational bonds and contributing to social cohesion.
By prioritising active ageing, Singapore not only ensures a higher quality of life for its senior population but also establishes itself as a model of progressive and compassionate ageing care, both regionally and globally.
The Elder Education Department provides a gamut of active ageing programmes that reach out to seniors in the community. To encourage seniors to maintain active lifestyles, the department offers a wide variety of programmes to promote lifelong learning, healthy living, social networking, and inter-generational bonding. Their efforts to encourage seniors to adopt digital technology are a key thrust to give seniors more options – in the way they receive information and how they communicate with others. The department believes that learning never stops.