It is vital to address the social factors that affect the health of elderly Singaporeans, especially in situations where they are impoverished or socially isolated.
Better intervention efforts are necessary, and more research is needed to understand the complexities of the interaction between socio-economic factors and the health of the elderly.
We have to enhance the professional capacity of those who work directly with the elderly.
It is important to take a more proactive approach in training and building the knowledge and skills of social work practitioners working with the elderly population.
A quick check on the Social Service Institute website reveals a limited number of courses related to gerontology.
Social workers who are trained to know the needs of the elderly will be in a better position to deal with age-related health and social issues, and to work with other community partners in developing targeted intervention approaches and advocating for the elderly.
There is also a need for active collaboration between healthcare and social service professionals to develop creative approaches in addressing elderly issues, while being sensitive to the needs of the elderly.
James Chan Jun Rong