Video message from Dr John Beard, Director for Life Course and Ageing Department, World Health Organization, at the ComSA Forum 2017 on Friday, 18 August. Watch here.
1. Eldercare policy and funding structure
By 2030, one in five Singaporeans will be over 65. Since the inception of the “Many Helping Hands” approach in 1982, the government has introduced an array of policies and funding structures to accommodate our rapidly ageing population, starting in the family before diffusing out to the state. Here are analyses and studies on these eldercare policies.
2. Community-based person-centred primary care
Rather than racking up risks and rates in acute care, the future of primary care lies in the life course: regular check-ups to maintain good health while preventing disease, quality care that revolves around the patient and not the physician or institution, and a system that smoothes transitions between different levels of care. The literature in this section presents the ins and outs of person-centred care, from home- and centre-based services to systems that include caregivers in their support.
3. Geriatric counselling
Counselling has sometimes been received with scepticism by the older population, just as mental illness often goes unrecognised and underreported. However, as awareness of psychological health increases so does acceptance of the techniques used to treat it. Here are studies on the experience of geriatric counselling by the elderly as well as some methods of psychological intervention.
4. Dementia care system
48,000 people in Singapore live with dementia, a number that is on the rise. Dementia is a growing concern both worldwide and in Singapore, for its prevalence and complexity. Its incurable attack on memory and the mind make it uniquely hard on caregivers. Here is a range of literature dealing with various issues of dementia: the caregiver experience, ethnic variations, independence, personhood, and more.
5. Ageism & Elder abuse
The “ageing problem”, “silver tsunami”, “demographic time bomb”—these are just some of the alarmist phrases commonly used to refer to the ageing population. If age comes for us all, why does ageism so effortlessly persist? Ageist attitudes and stereotyping are the breeding grounds for age discrimination in areas like employment or healthcare. One particularly serious consequence of ageism is elder abuse. Usually perpetuated by a family member, it comes in many forms—physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglect—and, like other forms of abuse, goes severely underreported.
6. Participation and independence
Life doesn’t stop at retirement. Older persons can enjoy their golden years with more exercise, volunteering, and other meaningful activities, while others still hope to return to the workforce. The literature here reviews community living, leisure activities, independence, employment, and financial security. Remember: Longevity is opportunity.
Much has been said on the ‘caregiver burden’: the physical and emotional toll that arises when the caregiver is overwhelmed and unsupported. You’ll find research on that here. But you’ll also find the underreported positive aspects of caregiving: emotional fulfilment, meaning making, and more. Caregiving is a complex experience; here is a well-rounded round up of the literature.
8. Age-friendly living
The city of the future is a city for all ages. This reaches beyond handrails or sheltered walkways, encompassing anything from telehealth to an accessible network of service providers. Here you’ll find ideas and case studies on age-friendly transport, housing, and cities.
Dozens of new technologies for the elderly are churned out year by year. Actual adoption of said technologies is an uphill battle, with issues of design, accessibility, need, and even ethical concerns. Here are systematic reviews of the vast array of available gerontechnologies as well as studies on their use and adoption.
Women outlive men while having fewer savings of their own. This has led to a phenomenon that comes hand in hand with an ageing population: the feminisation of ageing. As women are more likely to use long-term care services and be affected by eldercare policy, it is critical for policymakers to recognise this gendered perspective. In this section, you will learn about the health, sociocultural, and economic implications that accompany older women.