Do survey on abilities of those above 65

With better nutrition and improved lifestyles, people are living longer, and they are also stronger ("Don't write off everyone over 65 as unproductive"; last Thursday).

We set 65 as the cut-off age at which people are regarded as being no longer active or "useful".

We use this to calculate the ratio of support needed to sustain an ageing population.

But ageing is a physiological process, not a chronological one.

It varies considerably among individuals.

We have to change our mindset.

We should do a survey on those above 65 in Singapore to see what percentage of them are still mentally and physically competent.

Only then we can make an accurate assessment of the available manpower for the nation, as well as plan and adopt policies to maximise our manpower resources.

Let us not assume that all those over 65 are useless.

Our only resource is people. Let us not waste it by making a wrong assumption based on an arbitrary number.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2015, with the headline 'Do survey on abilities of those above 65'. Print Edition | Subscribe