How Singapore is tackling modern aging

Last week, Mr. Gan Kim Yong’s speech on Singapore’s aging population at the “Futurescape: Home Healthcare – Local and International Perspective Conference” delivered some thought provoking facts and explained the action plan to tackle modern aging.

The population all around the globe is aging rapidly, and Singapore is no exception. In the next two decades, the percentage of Singaporeans aged 65 and above will rise from 7% to 14%. With this in mind, establishing the foundations to address the problem has long been a priority for Singapore and it has devoted all of its efforts towards building programs to help the well-being of its ageing population. Luckily, Singapore was able to collect insightful information and inspiration from countries like Japan, where they emphasized well-planned programs and developed home-based care that brought significant results on the institutionalization rate despite a greying population and weaker family support.

With this key demographic change impacting Singapore in the near future, the Ministry of Health of Singapore is not slowing down on deploying efforts and commitments towards healthy ageing mainly with expanded home-care services. Just in the past 5 years, the number of home-care services grew by 55%, now reaching up to 6,900 seniors, and no efforts are wasted to continue expanding such assistance which is expected to reach 10,000 seniors citizen by 2020.

Home-care services can be complex and require innovative programs. Because of the diversity and complexity of home-care services, programs such as the Transitional convalescent facility program an expanded home therapies, Integrated Home and Day Care packages and Care Close to Home (C2H), have been put in place and are expected to continue expanding in near future.

As technology is becoming an increasingly frequent component in healthcare, implementation of Healthcare 4.0 is no exception as new technologies will help enhancing productivity and efficiency of home-care services. The two major focal points are on Telemedicine for health monitoring and new mHealth applications, e.g. from Singhealth.

Moving from traditional face-to-face healthcare services, training professionals for tomorrow is an important factor that the Ministry of Health has started mapping out in order to establish the future core competencies for community nursing and identifying new training requirements and career programs.

Furthermore, expanded home-care services will be supported by greater home care subsidies. The Care-at-home Innovation Grant, which funds home care up to 80% and the Seniors’ Mobility & Enabling Fund (SMF), which supports a variety of home care consumables and assistive devices for elderly, help to ensure affordable home-based care.

The Ministry of Health speech is recorded and shared on its homepage.

Authored by: Dario Heymann

Edited by: Helene Champoux

Copyright © 2017 Galen Growth Asia

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