Technologies for Ageing-in-Place: The Singapore Context

Executive Summary The number of elderly citizens aged 65 and above in Singapore, is expected to double from 440,000 in 2015, to 900,000 by 2030. Along with this “Silver Tsunami” is the upward trend of the number of elderly who are living alone — which is estimated to increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 by 2030. These exclude elderly who are alone at home when their family members are working. Elderly who are staying alone are at higher risk of social isolation and tend to have poorer access to healthcare. In addition, the general elderly population is typically more susceptible to deteriorating health conditions, which can manifest in many forms such as mobility and cognitive decline, and onset of chronic illnesses. They require more access to geriatric care services, and increased assistance with their activities of daily living. Conventional models of institutionalised care such as sheltered or nursing homes have been imperative in providing long-term care for elderly who require such services. Unfortunately, there is often a shortage of available placements for these facilities; prolonged stays in such settings may also lead to costly and undesirable outcomes for the elderly and their family members. Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of home and community care, to support ageingin- place whereby the elderly can stay within the comfort of their homes and familiarity of their neighbourhoods, and have minimal disruptions to their lives and activities. Care, support and response is provided by the community in which the elderly is living in. The efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of this model is dependent on the integration of care across social and health services, collective effort of the whole-of-society, as well as availability of admissible technological solutions. This white paper outlines key considerations including the needs, challenges, trends and opportunities that will enable Singapore citizens living alone to age-in-place. The vision for enabling holistic and personalised ageing through technology is presented, together with its exemplification in the form of responsive and pre-emptive care and intervention models. An overview of the technology ecosystem to support such a vision is described; this includes the monitoring system, care platform and data-driven models for measures of elderly well being. Finally, the paper presents the roadmap for the conceptualisation to realisation of technologies for ageing-in-place. The paper also highlights the importance of the involvement of various stakeholders, for successful ageing-in-place to be realised.

March 2016

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