New national plan to age successfully
The Ministerial Committee on Ageing shares a glimpse of its new Action Plan which includes a National Silver Academy.
The Ministerial Committee on Ageing unveiled the new Action Plan for Successful Ageing which will help Singaporeans age confidently and lead active lives, with strong bonds with family and community.
The $3 billion five-year plan has three key focuses – helping Singaporeans live longer, live well and age confidently; building a cohesive society with intergenerational harmony; and building an age-friendly city that enables seniors to live actively and age-in-place confidently.
Minister-in-Charge of Ageing and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Ageing, Gan Kim Yong, said, “We need to plan ahead to ensure that Singaporeans need not worry about getting old but instead embrace new opportunities that come with longevity. We want Singapore to be the best place for Singaporeans to grow old in, and a model for successful ageing.”
Some of the initiatives:
• A new “National Silver Academy” will be set up to offer a wide range of learning opportunities for seniors to learn for interest and to stay active. This will be a virtual Academy that will comprise a network of institutions such as community organisations and post-secondary education institutions that offer courses for seniors. The Academy will also include the Intergenerational Learning Programme (ILP) developed by the Council for Third Age (C3A), which pairs students with senior learners so they can learn various topics such as IT, social media and photography. It also serves as a platform for seniors to pursue lifelong learning and help strengthen intergenerational ties. Courses under the Academy will be launched in 2016.
• A national Seniors’ Health Programme will be launched to empower at least 400,000 seniors aged 50 and above by 2030 to age more healthily. The national programme will include healthy lifestyle campaigns and activities in the community as well as targeted interventions for mature workers at workplaces. The series of campaigns and initiatives will cover key aspects of seniors’ health such as nutrition, dementia and physical activity, to empower seniors to take charge of their health, and remain healthy and fit.
• Co-locating eldercare and childcare facilities in new HDB developments to maximise opportunities for intergenerational interactions. Childcare and senior centres will be co-located in some 10 new HDB BTO projects in the next 10 years to provide opportunities for intergenerational bonding. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will also encourage existing operators of eldercare facilities to introduce innovative programming that allow the young and old to interact.
• A “PAssion Silver” Card will be issued free to every Singaporean aged 60 and above or as they turn 60 years old, to serve as a clear age identifier for the people, public and private sectors to offer privileges to our seniors in honour of them. The People’s Association (PA) will work with its community, corporate and merchant partners, while the Singapore Business Federation will encourage businesses and trade associations and chambers to support this initiative. The year-long privileges and benefits for cardholders could include priority queues and special discounts at participating stores.
• “Active Ageing Hubs” will be built in new HDB developments. At least 10 future HDB housing developments will have these hubs, which are bigger than existing Senior Activity Centres (SACs). These active ageing hubs can provide both active ageing programmes for active and ambulant seniors, as well as daycare, day rehabilitation and assisted-living services (such as housekeeping and grocery-shopping) for seniors who are frail. These hubs can also be the venues for social and learning activities for all ages.
• More senior-friendly public transport as well as more amenities for seniors at parks such as exercise equipment, footpaths and therapeutic gardens to help seniors who have dementia and stroke.
• Up to $200 million may be set aside for a National Innovation Challenge to catalyse research related to ageing.
According to the Ministerial Committee on Ageing, the full Action Plan report will be released next year.
(** PHOTO CREDITS: Ministerial Committee on Ageing)