Insights aplenty on ageing well

SINGAPORE - More than 800 people, mostly seniors, have given their insights to the Ministry of Health on how they want to age successfully.

Announced in May at the debate on the President's Address by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, the Action Plan for Successful Ageing aims to prepare current and future seniors as the country looks ahead to a fast-ageing population.

Some of the target groups include those in the post-pioneer generation, currently in their 40s to early 60s, who have different aspirations and perspectives towards ageing, said Mr Gan.

Speaking at the inaugural fund-raising gala dinner by charity Women's Initiative For Ageing Successfully (Wings) last night, he said: "Even while we are implementing the Pioneer Generation Package, we are developing a new action plan to ensure that future generations of Singaporeans will continue to age confidently and successfully, in a nation suitable for all ages."

The Pioneer Generation Package is a raft of measures to help seniors with health- care expenses.

Mr Gan, who is also the chairman of the ministerial committee on ageing, said the ministry approached Wings in June to discuss issues relating to women and ageing.

As a result, the charity is starting a programme to help vulnerable and disadvantaged women aged above 40 and their families.

WagsLite will teach participants through courses how to manage their money, and promote health and happiness. It will conduct a national survey next year to find out the exact needs of such women before courses start in July.

Madam Asiah Ahmad, 50, a retired clerk, said a Wings' financial literacy course she attended imparted practical skills. She said: "Such courses benefit people like us where age is catching up, giving us guidance so we don't feel so alone."

The dinner, which paid tribute to women from the pioneer generation, included female pioneers from organisations such as Ain Society, Lions Befrienders and St Luke's Eldercare.

It has raised more than $300,000, which will be matched by the Government under the Care and Share scheme.

Ms Anthea Ong, the president of Wings, said they are excited to be playing a key role in developing gender-sensitive programmes for active ageing.

"It is our hope that every woman ages with confidence, dignity and security to remain as active contributing participants to our society," she said.