Insights into Care and Ageing

Being healthy as we age helps to reduce our need for care, and the journey to good health should start as early as possible. Nutrition plays an important part to keeping us healthy in the longer term.

Dr Chong Foong-Fong Mary is Associate Professor at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS, and a clinical dietitian. We sought her advice on nutrition for people of different ages.

Also consider joining us for the workshop Take Care of YOU! to learn more about taking care of yourself.

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Caregivers play important roles in our ageing society, and lead lives beyond caregiving roles. How does caregiving shape the way caregivers think about their own lives and future?

Michelle Low (Arts and Social Sciences ’93) took care of her mother who suffered from dementia for many years. We ask her how this has affected how she lives her life.

Ageing affects all of us, but it does not affect everyone the same way. Women bear the bulk of unpaid caregiving work, and have longer life expectancy than men. This study looked at data from different countries and found that gender differences in key areas such as financial and physical security, and productivity and engagement favour men. The costs of women’s long-term care and their reduced savings for themselves -- and for the next generation -- also has implications for society. With data from several countries, this study presents interesting points to consider in policies on women, gender, and economic status.

Physical activity enhances overall health, increases quality of life, and helps prevent chronic diseases. More sedentary lifestyles, especially as we get older, means we tend to not be sufficiently active physically. This article looked at several studies which show how people were more engaged in physical activity in arrangements where there was no or reduced in-person interaction with a trainer. Such non-face-to-face arrangements included following advice in print materials, phone, and the internet. The increasing use of the internet and digital devices in this age can be harnessed to help us get moving towards greater vitality and health.

Also consider joining us for the workshop Take Care of YOU! to learn more about taking care of yourself.

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As our population ages, so does our workforce. This aptly-titled article by the Ministry of Manpower, ‘Growing Alongside Our Ageing Workforce’, explains that increased longevity and declining birth rates affects our labour supply and might cause it to shrink. The increasing proportion of older workers changes the employment landscape. This article emphasises the importance of older workers to the workforce, thus prompting us to think about how we as individuals and society can move towards a more inclusive workforce that takes care of and meets the needs of employees of across all ages.

Family sizes are shrinking even while our population is rapidly ageing. Recognising that care needs will thus continue to grow, the government developed a Caregiver Support Action Plan encompassing five different areas to support caregivers: care navigation, financial support, workplace support, caregiver respite services, and caregiving empowerment and training.

This was first launched in 2019 and expanded two years later with more services such as a greater range of respite care services, more community outreach teams, and a training grant for caregivers to tap on to gain skills and knowledge. Should care and caregiver needs continue to grow at a fast pace, what other services would be needed in the near future in 2030 when one quarter of our population is 65 years and older? What types of plans and policies could be made now to reduce care and caregiving needs for the future generation in 2050?