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Hanging a National Day banner outside Peninsula Plaza. Circa 2002

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Singapore's Ageing Population

"Given the steadily increasing health needs of the older population, there are clearly policy options built around the concept of extending people's working lives.

"The United Kingdom, for example, is discussing raising the pensionable age from the current 65 to 68 by 2044.

"But are people aged 50 upwards unproductive burdens on society because they are consistently less able to perform modern economic activity than those younger?"

Excerpt of article "Singapore's Ageing Population: Not Quite Doomsday" by SARAH HARPER in THE STRAITS TIMES of 14 Jun 2006 (Page 23)

TALK: Share Your Views



Enhancing public health measures against Tuberculosis

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 700[2]new 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 in 2007...



Parliamentary Q&A on Advance Medical Directive

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 Over the years, 19 AMDs have been revoked and 6 have been put into effect...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...





6406 cases of voluntarily causing hurt reported in 2006

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...



Foreign domestic worker levy concession for disabled persons

Employers may now apply for the FDW Levy Concession (Persons with disability) from 15 September 2007.
The FDW Levy Concession (Persons with disability) will help families of persons with disability reduce costs of caregiving where a full-time caregiver is needed...
Employers applying for the levy concession will need to obtain a medical assessment on the functional ability of the person with disability in performing his/her activities of daily living...



A healthy life and a good, dignified and discreet death

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” moment.
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...



Significant changes to the CPF system

"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 risk-free framework...
"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 retirement savings...



Draft Mental Capacity Bill for public consultation

"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 welfare..."



Prime Minister's National Day Message 2007

"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 future..."



Public consultation on proposed National Registry of Diseases Bill

"The Ministry of Health is proposing to introduce a National Registry of Diseases (NRD) Bill...
"Currently, the NRD includes registries for cancer, renal failure, heart disease and stroke.
"The information captured by the NRD is mainly from public sector healthcare institutions who submit data on a voluntary basis.

"There is a need for data from the private sector to be included so that the dataset is complete and useful for national level planning..."



Payout period for IDAPE claimants extended to 6 years

"IDAPE is 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..."


     - Apple Scam Cheats Nabbed


$60 million ElderShield premium rebates

"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 period..."


     - Apple scam cheats nabbed by police


Survey on conditions of employment for older workers in 2006

"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%)..."



Home for children and the elderly under one roof opens

"The 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..."



Gearing up Singapore for its 2020 healthcare needs

"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..." 



Singapore may enter upper half of First World nations within 20 years

"With more jobs for Singaporeans, employers must make a special effort to employ our older workers, giving them lighter work with corresponding salary adjustments.
"Workers who are retrenched and, so long as they remain fit and healthy with retraining or re-configuration of jobs, can be re-employed and working beyond 62..."



A Statistical Profile of Older Workers

"Older persons aged 50 & over made up close to one-quarter (24%) of the resident workforce in 2006.
"Reflecting their 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...."



Prime Minister's Chinese New Year Message 2007

"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 daughters-in-law.
"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 together..."



2006 survey finds almost nine in ten children aged 10 - 14 years are infocomm users

"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.
"The 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 year..."


     More News - 2006 & earlier




Book Review: The Gift Of Age by RSVP Singapore

The 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 old.


A Ripe Old Age

Edited by Kua Ee Heok & Ko Soo Meng

This book 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

Published in 1998 by Sage Publication. ISBN 981-04-0739-4


Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:


"...MCYS’ 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


"...creating job opportunities for older Singaporeans.  This is one of the CAI’s priority areas.  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 issues.


"On informal industries, my Ministry will pilot a community platform where the elderly or homemakers can 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


"...Remaining active after retirement, whether through work, volunteering, or pursuing a hobby, is important in delaying the onset of degenerative diseases typically affecting the elderly...


"To 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.


"To 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. 


"My 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.


"We 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 that adopt elder-friendly practices or provide elder-friendly infrastructure, services or products.


EXCERPTED FROM Source: www.mcys.gov.sg Press Release 11 Mar 2005

This section commenced on 12 Mar 2005.