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m paulin tay straughan. Im a sociologist with the school of social sciences. And and currently im dean of students our work on successful ageing puts ageing in positive light.
Our respondents tend to focus more on what would keep them positively engaged and reminded us of the tremendous assets that people who are older can be to their community. Many of our respondents told us that and this comes through in the survey. As well that part of this important construct of ageing successfully would be to connect to the community to be able to give back we talk about an ageing community.
An ageing population always in a very negative light that oh no now we have one quarter of singaporeans. Who are going to be 65 and above and this is going to be such strong liability. And its going to be a drain on healthcare and so forth.
Some are inevitable of course. When you grow old youre going to need more care. But theres always this assumption that the minute you retire you disintegrate and you become a liability and a dependent.
So we use the old age dependency ratio to scare ourselves what a pity because if you think of somebody who has been taking good care of themselves financially. Physically health wise. Mentally.
Who has nurtured relationships is well connected.
In a group of like minded friends in the community with family this person. When he or she retires for the next 20 or 30 years a big chunk of that will be spent in good health people who are in their late sixties in their seventies. Who are still in good health.
They are such assets to the community. We must continue to tap on them for their experience their wisdom and the fact that they are no longer economically locked up in a 9 to 5 job also frees them up to be important volunteers in the community we. Started.
Off actually not calling it successful ageing we. Called it preventive health . It was a health project.
We surfaced. The model looking at the influence of education. All the background factors social support and so on then we started.
Qualitative research. So we always start even though. Im a quantitative sociologist.
But before we roll into the survey.
Its always good practice. Especially when we are dealing with emerging issues to go first into the ground to the ground and get a ground sensing through focus group interviews in the post. 50.
Group all their ideas of what constitutes successful ageing came up and we collected all the interviews looked at it very carefully and then we constructed a scale an index to measure successful ageing and then subsequently with that index we went into the survey stage and we were able to validate it so we found that singaporeans tell us that successful ageing included constructs of healthy ageing. Ageing independently. Self sufficiency.
This notion of self sufficiency being able to take good care of themselves. So that they will not be a liability to their children came up very very strongly. So that was a very interesting finding for us.
So. I think we will move and we have to it is inevitable and we have to do this move towards a community. Where the young old will become very important source of social support for the old old we see this in japan.
We see this elsewhere in the world. But in singapore. I think thats something that we have to work towards.
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