Go beyond health care to help seniors

Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong (in pink, standing) posing for a photograph with guests who represented Singapore's pioneer generation including former Cabinet Minister Mr Othman Wok (seated) and Minister for Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (right), at the tribute party held at the Istana on 9 February 2014.
PHOTO: Go beyond health care to help seniors

SINGAPORE - I am very happy to read about the Pioneer Generation Package ("PM Lee outlines health-care package for 450,000 pioneers"; Monday).

Singapore has one of the world's fastest-ageing populations. This is compounded by the fact that family units are getting smaller and our total fertility rate is on the decline.

The concerns of looking after the elderly will become more pronounced, and may become more diverse, complex and even unpredictable in the near future.

We would do well to confront the problem now and continue to fine-tune the solution.

The needs of the elderly are not limited to health-care services.

To help them age gracefully and live with dignity, we need to enhance their employment prospects and employability. And we need to organise various activities to help improve their well-being, including meeting their physical, social and emotional needs.

More than anything else, we need to promote filial piety.

We need to educate our children about looking after the elderly who are living in their midst. We must emphasise to young people that they, too, will grow old one day. In the future, they would also hope that others will care for them.

Helping the elderly in their golden years is a worthwhile mission.

This is a challenge that must be resolved not just by the Government but also by individuals, communities and enterprises. It is only by working together that we can find a positive and sustainable solution.

Patrick Liew

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