Not a ‘social drawback’: Dialogue on ageing raises preventive well being, employment points

SINGAPORE: The way in which aged folks with a number of medical circumstances are handled and the advantages of getting them keep employed have been amongst matters mentioned at a symposium held by the Centre for Analysis on Profitable Ageing (ROSA) on Tuesday (Nov 1).

One difficulty highlighted was that of aged folks with a number of diseases seeing separate specialists for every situation, taking a number of several types of medicines and with nobody to coordinate their “basket of remedy”.

Such a state of affairs could possibly be what is called “polypharmacy”, which refers back to the concurrent use of a number of medicines both disbursed in keeping with a prescription or purchased over-the-counter.

“There’s hope that when you have got a household doctor, one way or the other that coordination would occur, however … it would not essentially occur robotically,” mentioned Professor Paulin Straughan, director and principal investigator at ROSA.

The fear is that sufferers are being handled for particular person diseases after they see completely different medical doctors, versus a holistic strategy, she CNA938’s Asia First a day after the symposium, which had a theme of advancing wholesome getting old and nurturing the well being capital of older adults.

“That is one thing that I feel we have to work very laborious on,” she mentioned.

Prof Straughan, who’s from the sociology division on the Singapore Administration College the place ROSA was arrange in 2014, additionally elaborated on some extent made by a visitor on the occasion – relating to treating sufferers who’re effectively, versus those that are sick.

The Professor spoke about going for normal check-ups with a household physician as a substitute of ready till one thing goes flawed – an strategy which additionally kinds a key prong of Singapore’s More healthy SG technique.

The connection between affected person and physician may have extra steadiness this fashion, she mentioned.

“In case you are a health care provider treating a (sick) affected person, the ability imbalance is phenomenal. The physician is the authority since you’re sick,” she mentioned.

Prof Straughan mentioned older Singaporeans residing with disabilities are “dropping” about 10 years.

“We have to declare that 10 years again in order that we are able to absolutely leverage our prolonged life expectancy. There was consensus throughout the room that it’s greater than a medical science drawback,” she mentioned.

She added that aside from bodily well-being, psychological, social and financial well-being are equally vital as folks get older.

Additionally chatting with the radio station was Ms Janice Chia, founder and managing director of Ageing Asia, who mentioned that when she went to Japan lately, she observed medical doctors went past treating diseases. 

Medical doctors in Japan would spend about 45 minutes to an hour speaking to older folks to know how they’re doing, particularly in elements of psychological well being and wellness, she mentioned.


Addressing a suggestion from Japanese economist Professor Takashi Oshio that older folks ought to work for longer as a result of it can profit them, Prof Straughan mentioned that with longer lifespans, there’s a greater proportion of the inhabitants who’re in good well being however unengaged as a result of “static” retirement age in Singapore. 

“As soon as previous retirement, we see that we’ve about 20 to 25 good years, and what can we do with the 20 to 25 good years?  So Takashi’s argument is ‘let’s proceed to make it simpler for older adults to proceed to contribute to the economic system’, in order that’s a giant plus,” she mentioned.

In the identical vein, Ms Chia mentioned that employers must be artistic about the kind of work for older staff.

Not everybody likes a structured work strategy, she mentioned, including that society is altering and with that, work hours and varieties of work are additionally evolving.

“We’ve got to consider extra, maybe, micro entrepreneurship alternatives. Maybe older folks want to discover their very own job alternatives and create extra ventures,” she mentioned.

Asking firms to have a look at the kind of job alternatives obtainable for older staff, and breaking work into smaller parts or having project-based work would assist, she mentioned.

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