The well-being of third agers

Today, I attended the Council for Third Age’s inaugural conference titled “Happiness in Your 3rd Age”. One of the speakers, Dr Tambyah Siok Kuan, senior lecturer of NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, shared a 2011 survey about well-being and those 50s to 70s were interviewed for their views. She said the results were encouraging and that third agers feel they are happier and with what they have achieved.

Here are some of her slides from her talk:


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Growing the capabilities in the community

Guest-of-honour Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor with the Social & Health Manpower Development Programme-ILTC award recipients.

With more and more seniors wanting to live and age well at home, to make this a reality for them, a possible answer is through upgrading the skills in the community so those in the sector can delivery even better quality care. Shared Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, “With the growth in the community care services, we need close to 11,000 more staff in 2020 as compared to 2012 across all levels to augment the existing manpower pool. Community care is a source of good jobs for Singaporeans.”

Coming off a Senior Care Job Fair @ South West which took place in July and attracted more than 900 job applications, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) organised the third Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) Manpower Development Awards Ceremony in late August. A total of 91 awards were given, an increase from last year. The study awards fell into five categories: the Social & Development Manpower Development Programme for the Intermediate and Long-Term Care (SHMDP-ILTC), ILTC-Upgrading Programme (ILTC-UP), Mid-Term Scholarships for Social Workers, ILTC – Palliative Care Training Award and the Balaji Sadasivan Study Award.

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Flexible working key for older workers

Nine out of 10 (92 percent) senior business people in various industries in Singapore see flexible working critical for keeping older, experienced workers in the economy, according to the latest research by global workplace provider Regus.

The study also found that 96 percent of respondents confirm that flexible working is key to keeping carers and post-retirement workers in employment so that they can better juggle the demands of their family and their professional life. The study surveyed more than 586 people in January this year.

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Growing older without feeling old


Dr Rudi GJ Westendorp, Professor of Medicine at Old Age, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, leaves nothing out in his book, “Growing Older Without Feeling Old: On Vitality and Ageing”(left). He debunks many fad diets and “solutions” to ageing, and examines the attitudes of old people themselves.

Ageless Voice chats with the expert on ageing and the well-being of older people about his book and his perspectives on ageing:

With more people growing old and more are growing older, what does this mean to society and individuals?

Within a period of a hundred years, average life expectancy has doubled from 40 to 80 years. And it keeps going up. There has never been a time that one could foresee such a long and healthy life. The concentration of deaths moved from the youngest to the oldest ages and is accompanied by an unprecedented decrease in fertility rates. It has changed the demographic pyramid of our population drastically. With large increases in survival rates in the last half-century, current cohorts will move up through the population distribution. In 2050, the original pyramid will reach an almost rectangular shape and a skyscraper has erected.

These ‘demographic’ changes are at the heart of political, economic and public debate as the relative number of older adults increases. Governments have responded with measures in family planning, labour, social support and healthcare. I argue that the principle vision behind many of these measures is misguided, and ineffective as a result, as it is based on an (implicit) idealisation of the population pyramid with plenty youngsters to take care of the older population. Instead I suggest an age-independent approach that does not take chronological age – as a criterion for social contribution and (healthcare) consumption – as its basis.

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Arts unlock those with dementia

A photo taken by one of ADA's clients in the photography part of the Arts & Dementia Programme.

There is much evidence that the arts help to stimulate those with dementia. Dr Donald Yeo, a clinical neuropsychologist at KALL Psychological & Counselling Services with a special interest in the psychological aspects of ageing and dementia, spoke about one such project called the Arts & Dementia Programme by the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) at the RehabTech Asia conference in March. He is also a volunteer at ADA.

Ageless Voice finds out more:

So how does arts work with those who have dementia?

With dementia, the thinking part of brain deteriorates and this affects language skills. One is not able to communicate verbally, however, arts get around this in a non-verbal manner by activating the brain’s emotional part and bypassing the limitations.

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