Equip young people with info on caring for ageing parents

SINGAPORE - The plans for Health City Novena underscore the urgency to cater to the growing health-care needs of our rapidly ageing population ("Massive health-care complex by 2030"; last Saturday).

Such a complex would certainly help to ease the crunch in health-care facilities we might face in the future.

Beside building the "hardware", the relevant authorities should also focus on the "software" - raising young people's awareness of common ailments and diseases here, their prevention, and ways to care for loved ones who are at high risk of contracting the diseases or are already ill.

In late February, I insisted that both my parents undergo a comprehensive health check.

It turned out that my mother had the "three highs" - high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar - and faced an increased risk of getting diabetes.

I suddenly found myself at a loss for what to do to help. What were the lifestyle and dietary changes my mother needed to make? What were the side effects of the medicine the doctor had prescribed?

There must be others facing the same problem.

Another way to prepare people for the "silver tsunami" is to share reliable information in schools on common diseases affecting the elderly and ways to care for them.

Young people can then understand the options they have when caring for their ageing parents.

- Teo Wei Hong


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.