A recent report released by the National Population and Talent Division says Singapore is ageing at a faster pace compared with the last decade. Pool of citizens aged 65 and older grew to 14.4% in 2017 from 9.4% in 2007. The reason for the unprecedented growth is the lifespan of Singaporeans has increased while the birth rate stayed low.
For the economy and the government, however, the retirement cohort is not expected to add excessive financial burden since they are financially much prepared than the pioneer generation. The public spending on each retiree throughout their retirement years will only go down, expects Dr. Walter Theseira of the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
According to Professor Tan Ern Ser of the National University of Singapore opined that if seniors are able to enjoy good health and can support themselves for a much longer time, there is less cause for concern.
With the rising population of seniors, the healthcare industry should be prepared to meet the health care demand. Healthcare services for the elderly can be classified as Residential or Community Healthcare Services.
Residential services cater to the elderly who fall sick or bedridden with a need for residential healthcare facilities like community hospitals, nursing homes, respite care, inpatient hospice care when they are unable to be cared for within their own homes.
Community health care services will allow the elderly to remain at home. Healthcare services provided at home are very popular and preferred because many elderly prefer to spend their time with their family in a familiar environment. These services typically include medical, nursing and palliative care services.
In view of the popularity of home-based care, the government is rolling out initiatives to encourage ageing-in-place by ramping up of elderly care services. With 117,000 seniors expected to be semi-ambulant or non-ambulant by 2030, the demand for care for senior citizens is expected to rise significantly.
To enable seniors grow old at home the Ministry of Health has launched a Home & Community Care Masterplan. The plan includes; (i) training and assessing a new corps of domestic caregivers (ii) expanding community befriending programmes to strengthen the support network for seniors and their families.
In the private sector, technology platforms like sendhelper have been building a community of trained nurses and expert caregivers, thus providing families easy access to home care professionals on –demand. Such platforms enhance the government’s effort to grow the support network with the aid of technology. Nurses and caregivers have the opportunity to cater to the healthcare needs of the elderly by being a part of the community.
According to Dr. Mathew Mathews of the Institute of Policy Studies, ageing does not have to be viewed as a crisis because many older Singaporeans continue to be productive in their later years even after retirement. Having easy access to government support and healthcare professionals, they will have a peaceful retirement life.