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Budget 2024: S$3.5 billion allocated over next decade to enhance elderly care in Singapore


Budget 2024: S$3.5 billion allocated over next decade to enhance elderly care in Singapore

Singapore's rapidly aging population presents a pressing challenge for policymakers, necessitating comprehensive strategies to support the needs of seniors. Singapore heads towards "super-aged" status, which is when the proportion of the population aged 65 and above hits the 21 percent mark. Singapore is set to attain the status in 2026. In response, the government has unveiled ambitious plans and policy initiatives aimed at enhancing elderly care across various domains. This article examines Singapore's proactive approach to elderly care, highlighting significant budget allocations, collaborative efforts, and innovative real estate initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for seniors.


Government's commitment to elderly care


Singapore's government has demonstrated a firm commitment to addressing the evolving needs of its aging population through significant budgetary allocations and comprehensive policy initiatives. In his recent Budget speech on Feb 16, 2024, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong unveiled plans to allocate S$3.5 billion over the next decade for initiatives under the Age Well SG program. This national initiative aims to support seniors in aging actively, staying socially connected, and receiving care within their communities, according to the reporting of CNA.


The funding will be channeled into various projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life for seniors across different aspects of their daily lives. These include "silver upgrades" to residential estates, such as therapeutic gardens and barrier-free ramps, designed to promote physical and mental well-being among seniors. Additionally, improvements in commuter infrastructure, such as more sheltered linkways and senior-friendly bus stops, seek to enhance mobility and safety for the elderly population.


Collaborative efforts and holistic approach


Age Well SG represents a collaborative effort across multiple ministries, including health, transport, and national development. By pooling resources and expertise, the program aims to provide holistic support for seniors and address their diverse needs effectively. This integrated approach recognizes the interconnectedness of various aspects of elderly care, from healthcare services to community support and infrastructure development.


One key aspect of Age Well SG is its focus on preventive care and social integration. The program emphasizes the importance of keeping seniors active and involved in their communities to promote physical and mental well-being. Initiatives such as active aging centers and community engagement programs aim to provide seniors with opportunities for social interaction, learning, and recreation, thus reducing the risk of isolation and loneliness.


Real estate initiatives and future outlook


In addition to government-led initiatives, the private sector has also been actively involved in addressing the housing needs of Singapore's aging population. The Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas) has highlighted the importance of adapting to the changing demographic landscape and catering to the growing demand for senior-friendly housing options, according to the reporting of The Independent Singapore.


Mr. Tan Swee Yiow, the head of Redas, emphasized the necessity for more piloted projects tailored to the needs of seniors. He underscored that with the country's aging society, adjustments are crucial to meet the evolving demands. These adjustments include considerations for unit size, functional layout, design, and smart features in housing units specifically designed for seniors.


Projects like the Community Care Apartments exemplify this commitment to providing integrated housing solutions for seniors. These developments offer assisted living flats with features tailored to the needs of older residents, including accessibility features and 24-hour emergency monitoring systems. By integrating senior living accommodation within larger mixed-use developments, these projects aim to foster intergenerational bonding and community interaction while ensuring that seniors have access to necessary support services.


Looking ahead, Singapore remains focused on addressing the challenges posed by its aging population proactively and comprehensively. By continuing to invest in initiatives like Age Well SG and promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors, Singapore aims to create an inclusive and supportive environment where seniors can age with dignity, independence, and quality of life.


Source: CNA, The Independent Singapore


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