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Studies looking at centenarians

Assoc Prof Angelique Chan of Duke-NUS Medical School and CARE.

Centenarian (those over the age of 100) studies are going on or have been done all around the world including in Japan, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Denmark and US. In Japan, the country is even doing a “supercentenarian study” with those aged 105 to 109, according to Assoc Prof Yasuyuki Gondo of the School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan, at a recent centenarians forum held by Duke-NUS Medical School’s Centre for Ageing Research and Education (CARE).

Calling centenarians the “fastest growing group of people”, another speaker Prof Yasuhiko Saito of the University Research Center, Nihon University, Japan, explained that through studying them, “We are interested in finding out how to live a long and healthy life.” He added: “Increasing longevity is a great achievement but it also changes for [different] societies.”

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Play together!

Last year, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) introduced a fun guide to conduct inclusive games for all called ‘Let’s Play Together!’. In the guide, there are practical ideas and tips for caregivers, educators and practitioners to modify games like volleyball, basketball and bowling, so everyone can enjoy them including those with disabilities.

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When age matters

Ageism in the workforce continues to be a major obstacle for many Singaporeans. Older workers are typically perceived to be slower, less productive and more resistant to change than their younger counterparts.

In an effort to reduce discrimination in the workplace, government leaders have recently promoted the idea of an “ageless” or “age-blind” Singapore, where employers will hire based on an applicant’s skills and experience rather than his or her age.

This is an appropriate response to the problem of workplace ageism. It is expected that by 2030, almost one in four residents in Singapore could be aged 65 or older. This trend is already underway in other industrialised nations such as Japan and Germany.

We will have to make the most of our labour capacity in order to continue thriving economically. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) has been calling on employers to see the value in mature workers, in preparation for an older workforce.

In our efforts to prevent discrimination, however, we must be careful not to completely disregard age. Doing so has its risks.

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Seniors’ tech adoption rate shows highest percentage increase

Computer users by age group – the highest increase in the last three years reported for seniors aged 50 years and above.

Have you noticed that more seniors around us are using a smartphone, computer or accessing the Internet? This is an observation made by IDA’s Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households 2014 (Survey). The Survey showed that in 2014, about 74 percent of Singapore residents used the computer in the last three months, with highest increase in the last three years reported for seniors aged 50 years and above.

Between 2012 and 2014, there was a significant increase of 14 and 11 percentage-points in computer usage by seniors aged 50 to 59 and 60 & above respectively. This brought the total percentage of computer usage among seniors to 63 percent for those aged 50 to 59 years and 27 percent for those aged 60 years & above respectively in 2014.

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“Behind the silver surge”

Radha Basu, senior journalist.

Plenary speaker at the Singapore Patient Conference in October 2015 at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), Singapore, was senior journalist Radha Basu, who writes on ageing, migration and social issues. She shared that living longer can also mean living alone – in year 2000, there were only 15,000 elderly who lived alone. By 2010, there were 35,000 and the figure “will exceed 80,000 in less than two decades”.

She also shared about the rise of the “old-old”. Currently, there are 41,000 persons aged 85 years and above, up from 14,000 in 2005. Other demographics Basu shared included the number of elderly with mobility problems, like those who use a wheelchair. The number doubled to 36,000 between 2000 and 2010, she shared.

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