Based on research done in 2022 by Statista, 16.6 percent of the total resident population in Singapore is made up of those aged 65 years and older. There is no doubt that Singapore is one of the most rapidly ageing societies in Asia, along with Japan.
Active Ageing has become very important for the ageing population in Singapore because it helps to improve the quality of life of older adults and reduce the burden on healthcare and social services, which would benefit both the seniors and our society.
Active Ageing has a few of the key pillars that support ageing, which are split into these four categories:
- Physical and Mental Health of Seniors
- Seniors’ participation in social activities
- Lifelong Learning for Seniors
- Financial and Social Security for the Elderly
We will discuss the four key pillars to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how they collectively contribute to a life prepared for Active Ageing. If you are eager to explore these pillars further beyond this article, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us through your nearest Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre (AAC).
Physical and Mental Health of Seniors
Health is one of the key pillars of Active Ageing as it is important to maintain good physical and mental health throughout our lives, but it is especially important as we age because age-related changes can make us more susceptible to chronic diseases and other health problems.
There are a number of things we can do to maintain our health as we age, which include:
Eating a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is essential for maintaining good health at any age. It is also important to limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
Make sure half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables at every meal.
Follow these recommendations by the Health Promotion Board:
- Allocate a quarter of your plate to whole grains.
- Dedicate another quarter to high-quality sources of protein.
- Make sure half of your plate is composed of a variety of fruits and vegetables.
When older adults are healthy, they are less likely to experience chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. They are also more likely to have good physical function and mobility, which allows them to do everyday activities without assistance. Additionally, healthy older adults tend to have more energy and better mental health.
Physical activity is an essential part of Active Ageing. It can help older adults maintain and improve their physical and mental health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and promote independence. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise programme.
Frequent and regular physical exercise boosts their immune system and helps prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It also improves mental health, mood, quality of sleep, and energy levels.
Here are some specific examples of how exercise can help address common health issues as we age:
Heart disease: Exercise helps to strengthen the heart and improve circulation. This can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Stroke: Exercise helps to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This can help reduce the risk of stroke.
Type 2 diabetes: Exercise helps to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. This can help to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.
Osteoporosis: Exercise helps to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures.
Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Adults
ActiveSg has a whole host of programmes and seminars to guide elders on staying active. The Health Promotion Board’s National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults and seniors get 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging. They should also do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups for at least two days per week.
There are many dedicated fitness centres that cater to seniors, like Gym Tonic, renowned for its “Uncle Auntie Gym” concept, with many locations all across Singapore, including Fei Yue’s Active Ageing Centres.
Seniors’ Participation in Social Activities
Participation is another important pillar of Active Ageing. It refers to our involvement in activities that enrich our lives and connect us with our community. Participation can take many forms, such as:
Volunteering: Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and meet new people. It can also help you stay active and engaged.
Joining social clubs: There are many social clubs for older adults, such as book clubs, hiking clubs, and travel clubs. Joining a social club like Joo Chiat Social Club is a great way to meet new people and make friends. This unique intergenerational community care space brings together seniors, children, and persons of varying abilities under one roof, with an assisted living facility and social club, all housed in one conservation shophouse.
Pursuing hobbies and interests: Spending time on hobbies and interests is a great way to relax and de-stress. It can also help you stay active, engaged and keep your mind off life’s stresses.
Spending time with family and friends: Spending time with loved ones is important for our mental and emotional well-being. Make time for the people who matter most to you, and cherish the relationships you have.
Lifelong Learning for Seniors
Lifelong learning is important for all people, but it is especially important for older adults. As we age, our bodies and minds change. We may experience cognitive decline, physical limitations, and social isolation. Lifelong learning can help to mitigate these challenges and promote healthy ageing.
Research has shown that lifelong learning can have a significant impact on cognitive function in older adults. One study found that older adults who participated in regular learning activities had a lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not. Another study found that older adults who learned a new language had better memory and cognitive function than those who did not.
Technological Literacy and Its Role
Technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives. It is important for older adults to be technologically literate in order to participate fully in society. Technological literacy can also help older adults stay connected with loved ones and access information and resources.
There are a number of ways for older adults to learn about technology. They can take classes at community colleges or senior centres. They can also learn from friends and family members. There are also a number of online resources available to help older adults learn about technology.
Learning Platforms and Opportunities
There are a number of formal and informal learning opportunities available to older adults through formal learning channels like universities and adult education programmes offered at discounted rates covering a wide range of courses on topics such as history, literature, science, and technology.
Community education programmes offer a variety of non-credit courses and workshops on topics such as arts, crafts, computers, and fitness.
The Role of Technology in Lifelong Learning
Technology can play a supporting role in lifelong learning for older adults. There are a number of online resources available to help older adults learn about a variety of topics. For example, there are online courses, tutorials, and videos on topics such as computers, foreign languages, and cooking.
Lifelong learning is an important part of healthy ageing. It can help improve cognitive function, physical health, social well-being, and emotional health. There are a number of formal and informal learning opportunities available to older adults. Learning keeps the body and mind active and alert. You can find multiple short courses on C3A where seniors can participate as integral members of society through the newfound knowledge that they have gained from these courses.
Financial and Social Security for the Elderly
In Singapore, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Minimum Sum Scheme ensures that CPF members have a basic level of savings to meet their retirement needs. In addition to the CPF, there are a number of other financial planning options available to Singaporeans, such as Supplementary Retirement Schemes (SRS) and retirement annuities.
Addressing Economic Challenges in Ageing
The rising cost of living and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases can pose economic challenges for the elderly. The government has implemented a number of measures to address these challenges, such as the Silver Support Scheme, which provides cash payouts to low-income seniors, and the MediSave top-up scheme, which helps seniors pay for their healthcare expenses.
Access to Healthcare Services
Singapore has a well-developed healthcare system that provides access to quality healthcare services for all residents. The government has also implemented a number of initiatives to make healthcare more affordable for seniors, such as the Pioneer Generation Package and the Merdeka Generation Package.
Ageing and Healthcare Policies
The government is committed to ensuring that Singapore’s healthcare system is able to meet the needs of an ageing population. A number of initiatives have been implemented to achieve this goal, such as the development of eldercare facilities and the training of healthcare professionals in geriatric care.
By addressing the financial and healthcare needs of the elderly, the government is helping to ensure that they can live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives through Advance Care Planning (ACP). Advance Care Planning is the process of planning for your future health and personal care with your family.
The four pillars of Active Ageing are essential for older adults to live full and meaningful lives. By following these four pillars, older adults can maintain their physical and mental health, stay connected to their communities, and enjoy life.
If you are interested in learning more about how to provide better support for seniors and exploring the pillars of Active Ageing or Advance Care Planning, please feel free to reach out to us through your nearest Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre (AAC). Alternatively, you can consider joining us as a volunteer to gain deeper insights and knowledge in this area.