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What is Ageing in Place in Singapore?

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As the population of many older people grows, many of them will require assistance to remain healthy and active in their communities. Would you like to spend the rest of your life in your home? Perhaps you haven’t considered your ideal living arrangement options yet? Or would you want amenities within walking distance in the near future? Then you may be considering relocating while remaining near your current community.

Ageing in Place?

“The stairwell is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.” 

“I’ve only eaten a can of soup for dinner since my wife died.”

“I’ve been living here for 40 years. There will be no other place that feels like home.”

These are typical problems among the elderly. You may share the common desire to “remain in my own home!” The good thing is that with the correct support, you may be able to do so.

Ageing in place, in general, refers to staying in the community and maintaining some amount of freedom rather than entering a residential aged health care facility. That doesn’t mean you have to stay in the same place you’ve had for years. It could entail downsizing to a more age-friendly city or relocating to a retirement village where you can maintain independence with minimal change.

Aging in place refers to more than simply physical space; it also refers to one’s social support and communal network, as well as friends and family members. Accessing home nursing services Singapore as you proceed growing towards old age, whatever option you select, can be a vital part of the equation, giving you the assistance and resources you need to stay at home as long as possible.

Challenges Facing Singapore’s Elderly

Singapore, a multiethnic nation with one of the world’s highest median incomes, is experiencing a demographic change. By 2030, 25% of the population will be 65 or older, compared to 14.4% in 2019. This demographic transition has far-reaching consequences for the country’s health care requirements.  Growing old in Singapore entails a higher cost of living.

According to a survey published by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in 2019, a Singaporean senior citizen aged 65 and above living alone needed roughly S$1,379 per month to satisfy basic living expenses. The figure was S$1,721 for individuals aged 55 to 64 years. According to a survey of Singaporeans, 49% believe they are not prepared for old age regarding health and well-being, and 55% believe they are not financially equipped for old age. This could explain why there are so many seniors in Singapore’s workforce today.

Today, 17.6% of the population is above the age of 65. It will reach almost 25% by 2030, with over 900,000 senior adults, many of whom will require some standard of treatment. According to census statistics from 2020, there are about 70,000 seniors who are unable to do or have difficulties performing one essential function, such as self-care.

Singapore’s eldercare ecosystem has evolved to prepare for this, with a community-based network of care institutions, higher nursing home standards, and additional capacity in the form of purpose-built residences. Many elders, on the other hand, have expressed a wish to “age in place” and live out their lives in their own houses.

Caring for Our Seniors

As Singapore’s population ages, the Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to almost double the number of eldercare centres to 220 by 2025, as well as expand their elder care services Singapore. Eldercare centres are one-stop shops for all seniors, offering various services such as active ageing programs, friendship, referrals, and care.

The number of nursing home beds increased by 70%, from around 9,600 to 16,200 between 2010 and 2020. Authorities want to raise capacity by over 100% in the next ten years, reaching more than 31,000 beds.

Singapore’s elderly have been safeguarded through vaccinations and excellent infection control measures, according to the Ministry of Health, which has given COVID-19 vaccines to more than 90% of eligible nursing home and senior care clients, as well as more than 10,000 home care residents.

3 Benefits of Ageing in Place

1) It is Affordable

It’s also crucial to examine the additional advantages of elders remaining in their own homes, such as convenience and cost savings. Simply said, it is frequently far easier and cheaper to take the steps necessary to assist seniors in your life is continuing to age in place rather than placing them in institutional care.

Home care services are often much less expensive than assisted living facilities, which may run into the thousands of dollars per month — before transportation, medical treatments, and other aging-related expenditures are considered. Furthermore, many of these housing options refuse to accept long-term care insurance or other financial aid.

A semi-private room in a nursing home or a private room in an assisted living community costs less than half the price of full-time home care (40 to 45 hours per week). Most seniors 65 and older have paid off or nearly paid off their houses, which opens up a variety of creative choices for funding their age-in-place plans.

Even better, you and your loved one have far more control over their care and family support services with home care. You can, for example, choose who will provide home care services and on what schedule. A senior in institutional care, on the other hand, has far less control over who and when they work with.

2) Promotes Independence

Remaining at home respects the individual’s wishes. When an adult says, “I want to stay in my own house,” and the family decides otherwise, the adult may experience stress, anger, despair, and grief.

Staying at home gives elderly people far more freedom and independence than in other settings, such as assisted living or a nursing facility. When a senior mature in place, they have the opportunity to live life on their terms in the home that they helped create.

They have more influence over their personal lives, leading to increased levels of enjoyment, fulfilment, and personal satisfaction – all of which are essential in helping older persons feel better and live healthier lives in the long run.

3) Familiar Setting and Routine

Moving into a senior living home entails letting go of practically everything a person has known and loved. While assisted living communities allow a few select items of furniture, nursing homes place strict restrictions on what residents can bring with them.

It’s also crucial to emphasize the value of privacy and dignity when comparing home care versus nursing homes. There is no comparison between personal/hygiene care provided at home by a familiar caregiver and the public and industrial-style care provided at a nursing home.

When a senior chooses to age in place, they can maintain their desired lifestyle in a familiar and comforting environment. Instead of adjusting to a new environment, perhaps with new people to meet or new systems to learn, older folks who stay there can continue to enjoy the familiar comforts.

If a senior needs additional assistance or support, there are a variety of home care and support programs that can help with meal preparation, driving, friendship, and more, all in the comfort and security of the senior’s own home.

According to the 2018 Sample Household Survey by Housing and Development Board (HDB), 86% of elderly residents in HDB flats want to stay there and grow old in their current residences. Residents felt it comfortable or had an emotional attachment to it, having developed cherished memories of time spent with their family in the flat. The majority of respondents “show a strong propensity to age in place,” according to the data.

3 Disadvantages of Ageing in Place

1) Safety

Criminals frequently seek victims with high rewards but low risk. Criminal elements specifically target elderly people doing independent living in retirement homes since they are unlikely to resist them.

Although lifestyle choices may influence the likelihood of becoming a criminal target, the elderly are less likely to resist. Kidnappers find them prime targets because of this. They may also be robbed when they receive their pension at specified month periods.

More serious situations may involve crooks using their identities to make expensive transactions and then disappearing without a trace. Alarms and other security measures frequently only serve to postpone rather than prevent crime.

2) No Support System

Most importantly, aging in place at home can lead to feelings of loneliness. Your friends may not be in the same health situation as you, and long-time neighbours may leave the neighbourhood.

Your relatives may pay you visits frequently, but their schedules and routines will make it difficult for them to keep you company. Retirement community residents may not be available for companionship. As a result, you may find yourself alone for most of the day.

3) Maintenance

You will most likely be unable to mow your lawn, purchase lawn care, or maintain and upkeep your home at some point. Paying for minor repairs is costly, and the longer you let your property fall into disrepair, the more it will cost.

Consider the resale value of your home while it is in reasonable condition against the worth of the home in subsequent years after it has been neglected. The financial consequences may be too severe to wait.

What Services Would I Need to Age In Place?

It gets increasingly difficult to live alone as we age. Despite severe physical and/or cognitive impairment, most seniors indicate a desire to remain at home. Aging in place is achievable with the help of a support network.

Socialization and in-home care, as well as transportation and home-delivered meals, are examples of these services. You must learn about local options that can satisfy your loved one’s individual needs.

Final Words

While most of us prefer to grow old in familiar surroundings, we also want to retain a standard of living that we are accustomed to or as close to as possible. We must examine if we will be able to obtain the social, healthcare, and medical assistance that we require as we age, as well as whether we will have sufficient financial resources to pay for our retirement needs.

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