Address financial inadequacy among the elderly

A group of elderly people in North Bridge Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

That 70.5 per cent of adults aged 60 and above reported in 2017 that they thought they did not have adequate income to meet their monthly household expenses warrants a deeper examination (More older S'poreans meeting daily expenses, May 10).

To what extent are the elderly in Singapore financially strapped?

Is the combination of individual income sources and savings with familial and state support sustainable?

Are there serious systemic issues that need to be addressed?

And given the factors cited by researchers for the increase in financial inadequacy, including the higher costs of living and rising healthcare expenses, what policies or strategies might help alleviate the situation?

Going forward, it would be meaningful to study consumption and expenditure patterns and how they change over time, as well as which groups of elderly people are most vulnerable to income inadequacy and the types of support which are positively related to psychological well-being and other quality-of-life indicators.

Stakeholders should also take an interest in the family, social and community networks which surround older Singaporeans, how these various networks change given an ageing population and whether the Government is well positioned to effectively meet these changing demands.

An active research and policy process of soliciting first-hand perspectives will yield insight into lived experiences and day-to-day struggles and, at the same time, prompt more to pay even more attention to those who might be marginalised or disadvantaged.

Kwan Jin Yao

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2019, with the headline Address financial inadequacy among the elderly. Subscribe