International Day of Older Persons, 1 October 2015 (3)

by Patrick Liew on December 28, 2015

As one of the fastest aging countries, the challenge of looking after the elderly is further compounded by the fact that the family unit is getting smaller and total fertility rate is on the decline.

This challenge will become more pronounced and there will be more diverse, complex, and even unpredictable issues in the near future.

We will do well to confront the problem now and continue to fine-tune the solution so that  we will be better prepared to resolve similar or even potentially worst problems.

This is a challenge that should be resolved not just by the government but also by stakeholders from the public, private, people, and political sectors so that we can develop a more positive and sustainable solution.

For example, in a tight labour market coupled with a longer life expectancy, employers will have their fair share of elderly  workers.

We need to help employers Improve their attitude about and leverage on the role, competence, and contribution of elderly workers.

Research have shown that the age of workers does not affect job performance. Older workers can have a higher level of loyalty, positive experience, and dependability.

On the other hand, there are concerns from employers about the relevance of older workers’ knowledge and skills and their lack of creativity and resistance to change.

To overcome these potential downsides, employers can demonstrate more care and concern for the elderly workers and engage them in collaborative learning and improvement.

By deepening their commitment and support to the elderly workers, employers can unleash their creative and innovative potential and contribution.

The Singapore government can offer targeted incentives to motivate employers groom elderly workers and enrich their job scope, including the development of flexitime and flexi-place arrangements.

Subsidies can be provided to employers to develop an elderly workers-friendly environment and organise health and wellness programmes for them. It will not only strengthen these workers’ productive life but also enhance their performance and contribution.

As one united people, we can do more to improve our elderly’s attitude, knowledge and skills. It will not only enhance their employment prospects and employability but also help them enjoy greater pride, dignity and fulfilment in their sunset years.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

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