SINGAPORE: With Singapore having a large population of elderly citizens, the government has made an effort to transform the ageing system in the country with initiatives such as Age Well SG. The initiative aims to foster an environment where the elderly are socially connected, to provide them with support, and to make their living conditions more “senior-friendly.”

In a recent online post, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung shared snippets of a visit to one of the Active Ageing Centres (AACs). “Visited one of our Active Ageing Centres (AACs) with Desmond Lee and Chee Hong Tat to explain further details on Age Well SG,” he wrote.

Mr Ong also expounded on the initiative: “This is a comprehensive nationwide transformation to enable seniors to age well in their homes and communities, while staying connected to their loved ones. Together, Ministry of Health, Singapore, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Transport, Singapore will roll out a wide range of initiatives to: encourage active ageing for seniors to be socially connected, strengthen support for seniors with care needs, (and) improve the living environment to be more senior-friendly.

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Ageing is the biggest social development of our generation. Today’s announcements lay out further moves that the Government is making to make us an aged-friendly society and living environment. Step by step we are transforming the system.”

A country is classified as “ageing” by the United Nations once the population aged 65 and older surpasses 7 per cent. Once it surpasses 14%, the country is classified as “aged.” The country then reaches the “super-aged” classification when this age group surpasses 21%.

According to the Age Well SG website, “Singapore took only 19 years to go from ‘ageing’ to ‘aged’ and reached this milestone in 2017.” It also states that the country is projected to reach “super-aged” status in the year 2026. “By 2030, 1 in 4 citizens will be aged 65 and above,” it claims.

To address this issue, the MOH, MND, and MOT are collaborating to provide support to seniors to help them age well. The goal is to address social isolation, which the initiative’s website defines as a “key determinant of frailty.” The initiative also aims to empower the elderly to age “actively and independently.”

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Back in August this year, during the National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed Singapore’s commitment to ensuring that the country is a home for “all ages,” stressing that the effort will be collective.

“Together, we will make Singapore an endearing home for all ages, where seniors can age with dignity and grace, connected with friends and family, and enjoying greater peace of mind,” he said.