Best activities for seniors’ mental health

Exercise, Tai chi and qigong, self-help through books (bibliotherapy), computer-based therapies or computer games, and reminiscing on the challenges a senior has overcome in life came out tops as the most effective activities for improving the emotional well-being of older people. These activities were detailed in a new booklet (left) developed for aged care workers to help them identify and protect the mental health of older Australians.

Said beyondblue’s CEO Georgie Harman, “Around one in 10 older adults experiences depression and a similar number experiences anxiety. Mental health conditions are even more common among older people in the community who are frail and need support to remain at home, and among those in residential care. Research shows nearly 35 percent of people living in residential care facilities have depression.”

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New research institute in Singapore

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, graced the launch of the Next Age Institute.

Care support for older persons and financing retirement adequacy are just a few things that a new research institute will be tackling. The Next Age Institute (NAI) was recently set up by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in partnership with the Washington University of St Louis (WUSTL) to study, design and test social innovations to address social issues arising from an ageing population.

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Living forever

Imagine you could live to 120 years or more … or do you want to as it certainly disrupts the way Nature has intended. But then again who wants to live long coupled with debilitating diseases?

As medical technology continues its steady march to the future, we can certainly ponder what could be in store for our future, maybe not mine but maybe for the enviable next generation.

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Elderly design principles

I attended another DesignSingapore Council workshop called “Empathetic Ageing with Technology” and design consultants from Orcadesign and Supracopula from Singapore shared the 18 elderly design principles which “serve as a guide in the creation of empathetic solutions that can be easily accepted and used by the elderly”.

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A greying Asia

I picked up the January issue of “Global Health and Travel” which had a story on the greying Asia, and public and private sector healthcare solutions for a growing elderly population.

Here’s a summary on what I read:

With the incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer quadrupled in Southeast Asia from 1997-2005, this has translated into a booming demand for healthcare services and prompting expansion of healthcare and healthcare IT solutions.

IT healthcare initiatives

For instance, Singapore is increasing its bed capacity with more acute care and community hospitals and Hong Kong is looking to address the overcrowding of its medical facilities. With all this, there is also a trend towards home-based care, particularly in Singapore, as a way to reduce the strain on hospitals and doctors, and reduce taxpayer burden. And telehealth initiatives are being rolled out where patients can be monitored remotely.

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