Embracing the Silver Lining: Chalene Goh on Singapore’s Ageing Journey

Singapore, often celebrated for its high standard of living, stands as one of the leading nations in Asia for quality of life. Despite its digital prowess, our city-state faces a growing need to address the well-being of its ageing population, with projections indicating that 23.8% of citizens will be aged 65 and above by 2030.

Chalene Goh, an Allied Health Coordinator and Principal Occupational Therapist at Allium Healthcare, sheds light on the importance of Quality of Life (QoL) for older adults. Beyond focusing solely on medical needs, Chalene emphasises that QoL encompasses the overall health, comfort, and engagement of individuals in valued life events. For family members and members of the community, it is important to recognise and meet the mental and emotional needs of seniors to ensure that they continue to keep a positive perception of life as they age. Having a positive outlook can be instrumental in helping seniors overcome challenges like cognitive decline, stress, lack of appetite, and energy. When we feel a purpose, this helps to reinforce our value and contribute significantly to the overall QoL.

Chalene invites exploration into the significance of older adults’ QoL and encourages reflection on strategies to improve and work towards it.

Active Ageing Initiatives

These initiatives play a pivotal role in promoting the well-being of older adults by emphasising the importance of regular physical activity. Engaging in such initiatives is not merely about exercise; it is a holistic approach that addresses various aspects of seniors’ health. Seniors are encouraged to participate in activities that cater to their unique needs and abilities through carefully tailored activities by healthcare professionals or community partners. Careful selection of activities boost chances of success during the activity and fosters a sense of inclusivity.

Regular exercise aids in maintaining joint flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness, which are essential components for an active and independent lifestyle in later years. Furthermore, these activities contribute to improved mobility, reducing the risk of falls and enhancing overall agility. By focusing on exercises that enhance balance and coordination, seniors can navigate daily activities with greater ease, fostering a sense of autonomy. Exercise can increase our level of “happy hormones” called dopamine leading to a positive feeling of self.

Beyond the physical benefits, the initiatives contribute significantly to cultivating a positive mindset among older adults. Participating in group activities and exercise classes not only provides a structured routine but also creates a social environment that combats feelings of isolation. The camaraderie and support within these initiatives foster a sense of community, which is crucial for mental and emotional well-being. Seniors develop a sense of purpose and achievement through regular participation, positively influencing their self-esteem and mental resilience.

Social Connectivity

Recognising the vital role of social connections in the lives of older adults, fostering a sense of belonging and facilitating mutual support becomes increasingly crucial. Beyond mere interaction, the cultivation of meaningful relationships provides a profound sense of purpose and fulfilment for seniors. Engaging in shared experiences, whether through community programs, intergenerational initiatives, or regular gatherings, not only combats feelings of isolation but also contributes to mental and emotional well-being. Building a supportive network allows older adults to navigate the various challenges of ageing with resilience and shared wisdom. These connections become the threads that weave a robust social fabric, creating a vibrant and interconnected community where every senior feels valued and understood.

Lifelong Learning Opportunities

Encouraging older adults to immerse themselves in continuous learning is a powerful recommendation, recognising the transformative impact it has on mental acuity and overall quality of life. Engaging in intellectually stimulating activities serves as a catalyst, fostering not only mental agility but also a profound sense of purpose and accomplishment. Promoting a culture of lifelong education involves breaking down barriers to learning and placing emphasis on the myriad benefits it offers. By doing so, this initiative inspires older adults to embrace new challenges, providing them with opportunities for ongoing personal growth and development.

Technology Integration

By embracing an open mindset and proactively breaking down barriers to technology adoption among older adults, they take a crucial first step in acquiring the skills and confidence required to navigate the digital landscape. This initiative not only fosters connectivity and independence but also encourages active participation in society, making a substantial contribution to the enhancement of their overall Quality of Life (QoL).

Singapore has been proactive in addressing the complexities posed by an ageing population. While notable progress has been made over the years, active community involvement is crucial, demanding a commitment to taking ownership of the ageing issue. Chalene emphasises the need for collective commitment in taking ownership of the ageing issue.

By fostering a positive and mature societal attitude towards our seniors, as a community, we can adopt a proactive approach to ensure a fulfilling and vibrant golden chapter for our ageing loved ones. Through championing these initiatives, we set the stage for a future where the later years are characterised not only by resilience and purpose but also by a profound sense of familial and community connection. Together, let us build a legacy of well-being for generations to come.

Images: Freepik

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