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.

Another country leading the way in IT healthcare solutions is Japan which uses robotics to not only care for elderly patients but ease the workload from those that have to support these patients. And with technology improving, more innovations are likely to come forward.


Community-based approach

In Singapore, besides investing in healthcare IT infrastructure, it is also looking at how the community can help the elderly. A non-profit cooperative called The Good Life conducts healthcare literacy programmes not only to elderly but to younger middle-class Singaporeans who may also be at high risk for developing chronic illnesses.

And as the new generation of seniors emerge who are different from their older counterparts, the buzzword is on active ageing and forward-thinking companies are coming up with age-friendly products to help them age with independence.


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