The Ministry of Health (MOH) will place
tuberculosis (TB) under the Sixth Schedule of the Infectious
Diseases Act (IDA) with effect from 1 December 2008, This will
further strengthen public health measures against the spread of the
disease, especially amongst air travellers...
There were 700new cases of TB
notified among Singapore residents in the first 6 months of 2008, as
compared to 1,256 cases last year. The projected incidence of TB in
2008 is 38.4 per 100,000, which is higher than the 35.1 per 100,000
More than 10,100 Singaporeans have
signed Advance Medical Directives (AMDs). Over the years, 19 AMDs
have been revoked and 6 have been put into effect...
Our AMD rate of 0.4% is low. But this is
the experience in many other countries too. For example, in
Australia the sign-up rate is even lower, at 0.2%. The US is unique
in having a much higher sign-up rate compared to the rest of the
world. Their rate is around 20% in adult population...
In 2006, out of the 6,406 VCH cases, Police
initiated action on behalf of the victims in 468 cases, which accounted
for 7.3 % of the VCH cases reported...
Police will initiate prosecution into VCH
cases where there is harm to the public interest and safety, and when it
is assessed that the assailant is a bully who is taking advantage of the
weak and vulnerable - especially young children, senior citizens and
physically or mentally-disabled persons...
First, their traditional diet: they eat more
pork, more tofu (bean curd), more dark green vegetables and
more seaweed than other Japanese...
Second, they are physically active. They
exercise a lot and keep active all their lives. They work for as long as
there is work available.
Third, their active daily life in turn
benefits their sleep at night. They sleep easily and while they do not
sleep long, they sleep soundly with little interruptions.
So this is the Ogimi secret to longevity: a
healthy diet, an active life and good quality sleep...
End-of-life issues are deeply emotional. But
at the Ogimi village, I did not find the villagers squeamish when
talking about it. They laughed and joked about it.
They realise that treating death as taboo
does a disservice to both the dying and the living, adding to
loneliness, anxiety and stress for all. They are grateful for a healthy
life and pray for a good, dignified and discreet death, a “pokkuri”
It takes humility to acknowledge that
medical science, however advanced, has its limits. For the most
vulnerable group of patients at the close of their lives, for whom
curable treatment is no longer an option -- their last moments matter...
"By 2012, we will require employers to offer re-employment to workers
reaching 62, up to age 65, and eventually to 67. This change will
precede the raising of the Draw Down Age (DDA). By 2012, employers
will be required to offer re-employment up to age 65 but the DDA to
65 will only be effected in 2018 – a significant time lag to help
workers and employers adjust...
"1% additional bonus interest will be
paid on the first $60,000 in a CPF member's combined accounts, with not more than
$20,000 from the OA accounts. This will enhance CPF's existing
"While our employment rates are among the highest in the world, our
residents are also among the longest living. The present DDA of 62
years is hence too early and results in the majority of members
prematurely depleting their savings. Thus, we will do the following: a.
progressively raise draw down age..
"Even after changes to DDA, there will be those who live longer than
85. We want to ensure that they have a stream of income for life. The Government will therefore be looking at making annuities
compulsory for members to protect them against outliving their
"Currently, under the Mental Disorders and
Treatment Act (MDTA), the High Court can appoint a Committee of Person
or Committee of Estate to manage the personal welfare of or make
property related decisions for a person who is incapable of managing
himself or his affairs. However, the appointment can only be done after
a person has lost his mental capacity.
"One of the key features of the draft Mental
Capacity Bill is that it will provide a statutory framework to allow a
person to voluntarily make advance plans for his financial and personal
"Economic growth in the first half of this
year was 7.6%, higher than we had expected. For the whole year, MTI has
raised its growth forecast to between 7 and 8%.
"The good news is that we have added 111,000
jobs in the first half – the highest number ever. Unemployment is very
low, at 2.4%. Workers are enjoying good wage increases and higher
bonuses because businesses are doing well...
"One reason our income gap is widening is
our ageing population. Singaporeans are living longer than ever. We must
help our elderly live comfortably by keeping medical care affordable,
making our city barrier-free, and our public transport wheelchair
friendly. Those with enough savings will feel secure about their
fully funded by the Government: those who are eligible
for IDAPE benefits are not required to pay premiums.
IDAPE is means-tested as it is targeted at helping the
low-income elderly who are severely disabled...
"The claims criteria for
IDAPE are the same as ElderShield. IDAPE claimants are
those who are unable to perform at least 3 out of the
6 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). They receive $100
to $150 per month depending on their monthly per
capita household income..."
"Our preliminary computations suggest that
the total ElderShield rebate amount is likely to exceed $60 million.
When confirmed, it will be distributed to the existing policyholders
numbering some 770,000.
The rebates, when confirmed, will be given
out in proportion to each policyholder’s contribution during the 5-year
"As at June 2006, nearly all private sector
establishments surveyed (97%) hired Singapore citizens aged 40 to 49.
However, the proportion employing workers in their 50s declined to 89%
and more sharply to 54% for those older.
"Seven in ten employers cited relevant skills
and work experience as the most common reason workers in their 40s and
50s fit into organisations. Although this was also important for older
workers aged 60 & over (52%), the top reason cited for employing them
was their lower likelihood to job-hop (61%)..."
4-storey purpose-built facility comprising 2 homes,
Sunbeam Place and Evergreen Place, was completed in
May 06 and commenced operations a month later.
"Sunbeam Place is a group home for children
and young persons run by Singapore Children's Society. Evergreen Place
is a home for the aged run by Singapore Amalgamated Services
Co-operative Senior Citizens Home..."
"Some elderly patients are worried if their Medifund needs will be
squeezed out by the needs of their younger applicants. We get such
feedback occasionally. We have reassured them that all cases would
be assessed based on needs and that we do not bias our decisions
towards the young or the old.
"However, if it will give our senior citizens added peace of mind, I
am prepared to think about carving out a portion of Medifund and
ring-fence it as a 'Medifund for the Elderly'.
"We can call this "Medifund-Silver",
protected for the use of needy senior citizens above 65. It can
have a capital sum of $500 million, about a third of the entire
Medifund. This way, we can address the needs of the elderly
patients in a more targeted manner..."
"Older persons aged 50 &
over made up close to one-quarter (24%) of the
resident workforce in 2006.
relatively less educated profile, the majority (68%)
of older workers were employed in lower-skilled jobs
such as cleaners, labourers & related workers (18%),
plant & machine operators & assemblers (16%) and
service & sales workers (15%).
"These occupations also
registered an above-average incidence of older workers
especially for cleaners, labourers & related workers
where more than half (53%) were aged 50 & over...."
"At Meet-the-People sessions, old
residents often come to ask for a rental flat. They are
living with adult children, but want to move out because
they cannot get along with their children, or their sons- or
"I have seen many such cases myself. I
find them very sad. As their MP, I try to help them, but it
would really be much better if the family stayed
"Almost nine in ten children (aged 10 to 14 years)
use the computer and Internet for communications,
learning and play...
"The second highest proportion of
Infocomm users are our youth and adults (aged 15 to 59 years),
with about seven in ten using the computer and Internet
extensively for communications and leisure activities.
elderly (aged 60 and above) are also Infocomm users. Three in ten use the
computer, while two in ten have accessed the Internet in the past
Gift Of Age is a book written by already-old
Singaporeans for Singaporeans who are growing
old, as well as for the younger generation. It
dishes out timely advice on how to age
gracefully. Twenty-eight local celebrities,
whose names appear to the left of this
article, share their experiences in growing
Ripe Old Age
by Kua Ee Heok & Ko Soo Meng
will fill the lacunae of knowledge on ageing in
Singapore and help elderly and young people have a
better understanding and perspective of ageing. It is
not a pedestrian book about arid facts but covers a
broad spectrum of topics on ageing like nutrition and
longevity, cognitive changes and coping with grief.
Marital and sexual relationships are discussed with
candour by specialists in these fields
in 1998 by Sage Publication. ISBN 981-04-0739-4
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:
and MOH’s budget for eldercare services for FY05 translates to a
total of $98 million, comprising $12 million from MCYS and $86
million from MOH. This represents an annual growth of 4.5% from
$82 million in FY2001.
"Much of MCYS’ expenditure for the elderly goes into the Eldercare
Masterplan, where we fund VWOs to run a range of eldercare
services. They range from developmental
programmes for the healthy to services for the frail.
We are currently reviewing our range of services
and developing a new Eldercare Masterplan
for FY2006 to FY2010
in consultation with our service providers and users.
Employment Opportunities for Older Workers
job opportunities for older Singaporeans.
This is one of the CAI’s
As a start, we need to review the
retirement age policy, identify employment opportunities for the
elderly, promote elder-friendly work and HR practices, and explore
the possibility of establishing informal industries and
micro-credit as Ms Penny Low.MCYS
will work with relevant partners, including MOM, to address these
"On informal industries, my Ministry will pilot
a community platform where the elderly or homemakerscan
make a living selling their own products, crafts or service.
We will also study whether the lack of micro financing is
an obstacle that prevents this from taking off.
Promoting Active Ageing
active after retirement, whether through work, volunteering, or
pursuing a hobby, is important in delaying the onset of
degenerative diseases typically affecting the elderly...
encourage active ageing, my Ministry runs the Active Seniors
Programme(ASP for short). This is a scheme that funds
up to $200,000 to community groups who want to start projects that
tap on the skills and experience of older Singaporeans. Over
3,000 elderly volunteers have been mobilised under ASP projects.
One such project is a mentoring programme run by
local NGO, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (or RSVP for
short) which engages seniors in mentoring latchkey students.
encourage more and a wider variety of projects, MCYS will set
aside $200,000 out of the $1 million ASP fund for small-scale
projects worth $10,000 or less.
Ministry will organise more elderly-focused events,
starting with an Inter-Generation Bonding Family Day in June 2005,
and a Sports and Mind-Games Carnival in September 2005, in
addition to the Senior Citizen’s Weeks every November.
will also give the elderly more reasons to be active. Some
businesses offer discounts to elderly during the annual Senior
Citizens’ Week. MCYS will build on this arrangement to introduce
a Concessionary Card for seniors aged 65 and above.
Examples of benefits could include discounts at leisure and sports
facilities, shopping centres and eateries. In addition, MCYS will
introduce an annual “Elder-Friendly Award” to organisations
elder-friendly practices or provide elder-friendly infrastructure,
services or products.