More elderly people seeking help on ageing issues

More elderly people seeking help on ageing issues

A rising number of elderly are seeking help on ageing, indicating that older generations are shedding the stigma traditionally attached to counselling.

"In the past, end-of-life issues are taboo but more are open to talking about it now," said Mr Wong Lit Shoon, executive director of Sage counselling centre, which sees about 300 elderly people every year, twice as many as a decade ago.

"Mindsets are changing," added Ms Wang Jing, senior counsellor at Tsao Foundation, which counselled 135 seniors last year, compared to 86 in 2009 when it first offered the service. "In the past, people wouldn't open up to someone they didn't know."

Better public awareness and increasing education levels have made counselling more acceptable, explained counsellors.

It also helps that more eldercare agencies are recognising the importance of psychological health among the elderly, an area previously neglected in favour of physical well-being.

Mr Choo Jin Kiat, who heads O'Joy Care Services, which counselled 223 elderly people last year - increasing from only 30 back in 2004 - said agencies such as senior activity centres are referring more of their elderly for individual and group counselling.

Such sessions are usually free.

But the elderly are also coming forward because of the increasingly complex issues they face as Singapore ages.

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