Help seniors enjoy retirement

A good retirement plan is one that is planned well ahead. But many things can affect the plan, so I hope the authorities can look into doing more to help retirees.

There are four things that enable a retiree to enjoy his retirement.

First, he should have the financial means to enjoy his retirement. However, the greatest fear is that inflation will erode his wealth.

To protect against this, I hope the authorities can bring in and promote inflation-protected securities and annuities. It would be good if CPF Life can include such protection in its payouts.

Second, a retiree should stay healthy. Regular exercise and good network support are important. I hope the Government will build more exercise infrastructure that is easily accessible, and provide free parking. It would be good if community clubs could organise more programmes for seniors.

Third, a retiree should have access to affordable healthcare. The Government has put in place various schemes to take care of large medical bills. But as medical costs increase, even small medical bills need attention to ensure they do not become large ones over time.

Lastly, a retiree should be helped to stay mobile. As he ages, he will become more "fragile" and will need assistance in moving around.

In recent years, technology has provided a means for the elderly to move around, such as electric bicycles, scooters and wheelchairs. But rules and infrastructure have not caught up.

I hope the rules governing the use of such personal mobility devices will focus on restricting speed, instead of banning certain features.

For instance, start-up assistance features, such as throttles, for e-bikes should be allowed. Without such a feature, an elderly person may not be able to begin cycling, especially when the bike is carrying goods or when it is going upslope.

Leong Kok Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2016, with the headline 'Help seniors enjoy retirement'. Print Edition | Subscribe