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Innovations in the aged-care

I recently attended a three-day workshop for the public sector on designing services and experiences for the elderly in communities and public healthcare institutions, organised by the DesignSingapore Council partnering with Experientia, an international experience design consultancy based in Italy.

Experientia shared the Global Trends study, which identified five core themes and shared different individuals and groups that are innovating in the aged-care space:


TREND 1: It take a village
Trends in new models of care

• ‘Community’ is the new nursing home –

Tyze is an online tool.

Tyze, Canada – an online tool that enables a network of people to care for others, pretty much getting everybody on the same page. It is a secure, practical, Web-based solution which does the following – privately communicates with family, friends and helpers about you or the person you care about; schedules appointments and events on a shared calendar; and shares files, photos, updates and much more anywhere, anytime.

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Elderly show preference to age-in-place

About 81 percent of elderly wanted to age in their existing flats.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) conducts the Sample Household Survey (SHS) once every five years to gather feedback and identify emerging trends in public housing. In its latest survey, where close to 8,000 households in all HDB towns/estates were interviewed between January and August 2013, the findings found:

• The proportion of elderly residents (aged 65 years and above) had doubled since 1987 from 5.4 percent to 11.0 percent in 2013. Those aged 65 to 74 years made up the majority of the elderly at 7.3 percent, while 2.9 percent were aged 75 to 84 years and 0.8 percent were aged 85 years and above.

• Every elderly resident aged 65 years or older was supported by 5.9 persons in the working-age band of 20 to 64 years, a decline from 6.6 persons in 2008.

• The elderly showed a strong preference to age-in-place. About 85 percent of elderly households had no intention to move within the next five years, while the proportion of the elderly who intended to move declined from 7.3 percent in 2008 to 4.2 percent in 2013.

About 81 percent also wanted to age in their existing flat. They mainly felt that the present flat was comfortable, had an emotional attachment to it, or wanted their children to inherit the flat.

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Experiencing ageism

A senior doing tai chi.

The Institute of Policy Studies’ report called “Results from the Perception and Attitudes Towards Ageing and Seniors Survey (2013/2014) published in October this year found that 4.8 percent of its respondents had often/very often been treated badly because of their age in the past year. The survey commissioned by the Council for Third Age (C3A) included more than 2,000 Singapore residents aged between 50 and 74, and was conducted between October last year and January this year.

Said Lim Sia Hoe, executive director of Centre For Seniors, “If this survey sample is representative of the 1,067,800 Singapore residents in the same age group (50 to 74 years old), then 51,254 of them can be expected to have faced such age discrimination in the past year alone! By contrast, the number of theft and related crimes reported in 2013 is 17,075.

“While a victim of theft loses tangible valuables, a victim of age discrimination is robbed of his or her dignity. No one deserves to be insulted, abused or have his or her services refused because of ageism,” added Lim.

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Older workers are assets

Amid a tight labour market and low unemployment, the employment rate rose to a new high with the hiring of older workers and women, according to findings from the “Singapore Workforce, 2014″ report by the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Research and Statistics Department.

Hiring of older workers sees an increase.

For workers aged 55 to 64, the labour force participation rate rose from 49.5 percent in 2004 to 68.4 percent in 2014. MOM credits the tripartite efforts boosting the employability of older workers. Similarly, the participation rate for residents aged 65 to 69 rose from 18.9 percent in 2004 to 41.2 percent in 2014.

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Encouraging towns to create elder-friendly environments

A guidebook compiling the various initiatives and experiences of 16 towns in Singapore has been launched, in hopes of encouraging other towns to get onboard and care for their elderly residents. According to a newspaper article, the guidebook will be distributed to all constituencies by December.

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