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Report of the Committee on Ageing Issues is released 8th Feb 2006

The Committee on Ageing Issues (CAI) was set up in December 2004 to recommend policies and programmes to prepare Singapore for the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population. The committee was co-chaired by then Senior Minister of State for Health and Information, Communication and the Arts, Balaji Sadasivan and then Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and National Development, Mohamad Maliki Osman.[1] The CAI is an inter-agency forum comprising representatives from the government, the public as well as the private, media and academic sectors, so that ageing issues can be tackled in a coordinated and holistic manner.[2]

The number of persons aged 65 years or older is expected to rise from 8.4 percent of the resident population in 2005 to 18.7 percent in 2030.[3] The baby boomers (those born between 1947 and 1964) led this demographic shift with the first batch turning 65 in 2012.[4] Released on 8 February 2006, the Report of the Committee on Ageing Issues outlined a five-year plan to meet the needs of the silver generation and work towards a long-term vision of “Successful Ageing for Singapore”.[5]

The CAI advocated personal responsibility and early planning for old age on the part of the individual, as well as the continued importance of the family as the primary source of care.[6] In its report, the committee put forth a set of recommendations for the achievement of four outcomes: to provide elder-friendly housing; make Singapore a barrier-free society; provide holistic and affordable eldercare and healthcare services; and encourage seniors to lead active lifestyles.[7]

The CAI recommended housing options of different sizes and types be provided to cater to the diverse needs and expectations of seniors.[8] These homes should be fitted with features that enhance mobility and quality of life for the elderly, for example, non-slip floor tiles and a safety grab bar in the toilet.[9] To help seniors derive some income from their housing assets, the CAI called for the government to work with market players to introduce reverse mortgage schemes for elderly lessees of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats.[10]

The CAI also urged enhancements to public spaces, particularly HDB housing estates, and transport services to allow seniors, especially those who face mobility challenges, to lead active lives outside of their homes.[11] One of the suggestions was to make all new public buses low-floor, step-free and wheelchair-accessible.[12]

In the area of healthcare, the CAI pushed for additional subsidies for elderly, lower-income Singaporeans through the top-up of Medisave accounts when there are budgetary surpluses.[13] The committee emphasised the role of the family physician to manage the healthcare needs of seniors, especially in the provision of hospice and palliative care.[14] The presence of a dedicated family physician would help to ensure that the elderly receives consistent care in a familiar setting.[15]

The CAI also recommended the development of more programmes and services that inspire seniors to keep active. A S$10million GO! (Golden Opportunities!) Fund was proposed to support activities initiated by and organised for seniors. These activities should promote healthy living, social networking, intergenerational bonding, continued learning and contributing to society.[16]

References
1. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. (2006). Report on the ageing population (pp. ii, 10). Singapore: Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. Call no.: RSING 305.26095957 SIN; Ministry of Social and Family Development. (2014, July 30). Report of the committee on ageing issues, 2006. Retrieved on October 12, 2015, from Ministry of Social and Family Development website: http://app.msf.gov.sg/Publications/Report-of-the-Committee-on-Ageing-Issues-P2006
2. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 10.
3. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 3.
4. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 3.
5. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. (2006, February 8). Committee on Ageing Issues pushes for four outcomes to achieve successful ageing for Singapore [Press release]. Retrieved Sep 17, 2015, from Ministry of Social and Family Development website: http://app.msf.gov.sg/Portals/0/Summary/research/CAI_MR.pdf; Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, pp. 3, 8.
6. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 12.
7. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. vi.
8. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 13.
9. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, pp. 13, 20, 22.
10. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 23.
11. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 29.
12. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 31.
13. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 54.
14. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 44.
15. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 44.
16. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, 2006, p. 59.

 

The information in this article is valid as at Oct 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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