Many benefits to working longer, staying active

Elderly men at Raffles Place.
Elderly men at Raffles Place.PHOTO: ST FILE

It is good news that workers will get to be re-employed up to the age of 67 ("Re-employment age cap up from July 2017"; last Saturday).

This is an effective and well-thought-through measure to cope with Singapore's rapidly ageing population.

I have been hearing of many cases where elderly retirees die alone at home, with their deaths being discovered only when neighbours complain of a foul smell from their unit ("'When I die, I want someone to know'"; yesterday).

After working almost a lifetime, older workers tend to greet retirement with mixed feelings.

When they no longer hold a job, staying at home becomes meaningless, lonely and depressing.

This situation often degrades one's health and mental well-being.

Retirement is a double-edged sword.

It is a time to relax, but it also makes life feel meaningless if there is nothing to look forward to.

Come next year, older workers can continue working for a longer time, allowing them to maintain an active and productive lifestyle.

This effort injects a sense of usefulness back into the lives of our elderly workers, and keeps their minds and bodies active.

Continued employment will keep them occupied and remove feelings of redundancy.

Additionally, re-employment gives them the extra benefit of earning more income that provides them with more spending power to indulge in small luxuries, such as a short trip to Malaysia.

Even after the age of 67, retirees can participate in a multitude of activities - doing volunteer work at neighbourhood centres, attending workshops to learn new skills or discover new hobbies, or joining interest groups in playing mahjong, singing at karaoke sessions and gardening, for example.

Perhaps more awareness could be raised of activities that those aged above 67 can engage in.

Ethel Lee (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2016, with the headline 'Many benefits to working longer, staying active'. Print Edition | Subscribe