The Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) has launched the 2023 Action Plan for Successful Ageing to address the evolving needs and aspirations of current and future seniors.
2023 Action Plan
2. To cater to the greater diversity in experiences, aspirations and needs of Singaporeans, the refreshed Action Plan formulates an extensive set of many ground-up responses towards ageing which involves many people-private-public sector initiatives. In the process of developing the measures, the Government has engaged over 5,000 Singaporeans through more than 40 engagement sessions starting in 2019 to co-create the 2023 Action Plan and its new initiatives.
3. Taking into account the feedback, the 2023 Action Plan will focus on community initiatives to empower Singaporeans to take charge of their own ageing journeys and is anchored on three ’C’s – ‘Care’, ‘Contribution’ and ‘Connectedness’, to help them live life to the fullest. Key highlights under each thrust include:
4. Good health is key to enjoying a good quality of life. Initiatives under the Care Thrust seek to empower seniors to take charge of their own physical and mental well-being through preventive health, active ageing programmes and care services, such as:
(a) Enhanced Health and Wellness Programme
5. The ‘Live Well, Age Well’ programme by the Health Promotion Board and People’s Association comprises a suite of active ageing programmes which empowers seniors to improve and maintain their physical, mental and social health, across six domains:
i. Live Active – to support seniors in meeting the recommended physical activity levels, with a focus on strength, balance and flexibility;
ii. Live Assured – to encourage seniors to go for regular recommended health screening and follow-up;
iii. Live Nourished – to encourage seniors to adopt a healthy and balanced diet, with a focus on meeting recommended intake of important nutrients including protein and calcium;
iv. Live Enriched – to equip seniors with knowledge and skills to improve and maintain their physical, mental and functional health;
v. Live Prepared – to equip seniors with essential knowledge and skills to stay independent and have a fulfilled post-retirement; and
vi. Live Happy – to educate seniors on the importance of mental and social well-being and encourage active participation to stay socially connected.
6. These initiatives are being gradually rolled out at accessible locations nationwide, including Community Clubs/ Centres, Residents’ Committee/ Residents’ Network Centres and Active Ageing Centres. The ’Live Well, Age Well’ programme aims to reach over 550,000 participants over the next five years.
(b) Supporting Dementia
7. To enhance care and support for persons living with dementia and their caregivers, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and our partners adopt a comprehensive approach along five pillars, namely, (1) prevention and awareness; (2) early identification and diagnosis of dementia; (3) empowerment of persons living with dementia to age well in the community and support for their caregivers; (4) development of innovative care models; and (5) capability building through training and education. Key efforts include:
i. Memory clinics have been established in 16 out of 23 polyclinics to improve access to dementia diagnosis and care management in the community.
ii. The number of Community Outreach Teams (CREST), who proactively identify seniors at risk of dementia and refer them for further assessment, will be increased from 61 to 73 by March 2025.
iii. The CREST-Post Diagnostic Support (PDS) pilot was launched to proactively reach out to families upon diagnosis and link them up with resources. The number of CREST-PDS teams will be tripled to six by March 2025.
iv. Funding will be provided to enhance research on dementia, catalyse new innovations, and scale up solutions that have shown good outcomes to delay or manage dementia.
(c) Pre-planning and Preparing for End-of-Life
8. Most Singaporeans prefer to pass on at home rather than in hospitals. To meet these aspirations, MOH is working with healthcare and community care providers to smoothen discharge processes from hospitals and scale up palliative care capability and capacity, while also providing better support for caregivers at home. Through these efforts, the proportion of deaths in hospitals is targeted to reduce from 61% to 51% by 2027.
9. MOH, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and ServiceSG will jointly step up efforts to raise awareness of end-of-life care planning and encourage more people to make their Lasting Power of Attorney and engage in Advance Care Planning.
10. From sentiments gathered through engagement sessions, seniors have a wide range of preferences for how they would like to be able to contribute meaningfully in their silver years – from continued employment supported by more flexible arrangements, to taking up volunteering opportunities. The following initiatives outline selected efforts under the 2023 Action Plan that aim to enable seniors to continue contributing their knowledge and expertise:
(a) Remaining in Productive Employment
11. The Ministry of Manpower is extending the Senior Employment Credit from 2023 to 2025 to provide wage offsets for employers who employ Singaporeans aged 60 and above earning up to $4,000 a month.
12. The Part-time Re-employment Grant will also be extended with revised eligibility criteria from 2023 to 2025 to incentivise employers to offer part-time re-employment, other flexible work arrangements and structured career planning to senior workers. This will provide more flexible work options to attract and retain senior workers as well as support their career longevity.
13. The National Trades Union Congress and its affiliated unions have also worked with companies to increase their internal retirement age and offer re-employment beyond the legislated re-employment age. They will also continue to work with companies to form Company Training Committees, that aim to help workers – including older workers – remain relevant and future-ready.
(b) Supporting Retiring Seniors to Contribute through Volunteering
14. The SG Cares Office under the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth will partner RSVP Singapore to raise awareness and promote volunteerism among mature workers at their workplaces and collaborate with the National Council of Social Service to develop volunteer management resources to equip volunteer host organisations to better engage senior volunteers. The aim is to engage 750 corporates to drive senior volunteerism by 2027.
15. MOH and the Council for Third Age will also roll out the enhanced Silver Volunteer Fund in 2023 to ensure senior volunteerism remains meaningful and sustainable for seniors. Efforts will focus on volunteer training and development, deepening volunteer appreciation efforts, and fostering opportunities for inter-generational volunteering.
(c) Learning While Ageing
16. Built up through earlier efforts to enhance the senior learning landscape and make learning more engaging for seniors, the National Silver Academy (NSA) today offers more than 1,000 courses across a wide range of topics catered to seniors. The courses will incorporate the newly launched geragogy guidelines which aim to enhance the learning experience for seniors. Selected courses will also be converted to online formats to offer greater accessibility to seniors. The NSA aims to reach over 70,000 senior learners over the next five years.
17. Our built environment, social communities and senior-friendly neighbourhoods are significant contributors towards successful ageing. The 2023 Action Plan also sets out efforts to support seniors to age well in the community, while staying connected to society and their loved ones both digitally and physically. Some of these initiatives include:
(a) Senior-friendly Parks and Gardens
18. National Parks Board is working towards setting up 25 Therapeutic Gardens across parks island-wide by 2027 and will also continue facilitating Therapeutic Horticulture programmes to promote better physical and mental health of seniors.
19. The evidence-based design of these gardens and programmes will benefit a diverse range of conditions such as dementia, stroke, heart and mood disorders, and increase seniors’ overall sense of well-being and connectedness with the community.
(b) Moving Around with Peace of Mind
20. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) have been enhancing senior-friendly transport. By 2025, MOT and LTA will implement 50 Silver Zones and 100 pedestrian overhead bridges near places frequented by seniors such as healthcare institutions will be retrofitted with lifts. More Green Man+ will also be installed at pedestrian crossings, to allow seniors to travel safely and with confidence in their neighbourhood.
(c) Celebrating Seniors and Strengthening Inter-generational Bonds
21. The National Celebration of Seniors event is a multi-agency effort to empower seniors to lead an active lifestyle through sports, lifelong learning and volunteerism. The inaugural event was held in October 2022 and is set to be an annual feature. Sport Singapore will also be initiating an Active Silver Hub, which offers opportunities for seniors and youths to interact through modified sports activities and programmes aimed at fostering intergenerational bonds.
(d) Equipping Seniors with Digital Skills
22. COVID-19 has underscored the importance of ensuring that our seniors are equipped with basic digital literacy and skills. Under the Seniors Go Digital programme by the SG Digital Office, more than 210,000 seniors have been trained to use smartphones to safely and securely access government services, communicate and transact digitally, and to keep them connected to their loved ones and the community. Complementing this programme, the Mobile Access for Seniors scheme has provided about 12,000 low-income seniors with subsidised smartphones and mobile plans.
23. The full details of the 2023 Action Plan for Successful Ageing are available at (www.moh.gov.sg/ifeelyoungsg). MOH and partner agencies will continue to work closely with community partners to strengthen the network of support for both our seniors and caregivers to ensure Singaporeans can lead healthy lives and age-in-place meaningfully.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
30 JANUARY 2023