Focus on positive attributes of seniors

Reports painting Singapore as an aged society, and, worse, a "super-aged" one by the next decade are common.

These are terms which carry connotations of pessimism and bias towards ageing, especially in our workplace.

While we must be prepared for the challenges ahead in terms of rising expenditure in relation to an ageing society, we should seek to moderate the use of terms that seem to focus on the negative side of the process.

It may well lead to the more mobile high-income group to expect higher taxation, and flee.

It could also affect how the elderly view themselves - as a liability - and lead them to begin to withdraw from society. Loneliness would then set in, which is often a prelude to the development of serious health problems.

There is little we can do to stop the United Nations or the international media from using the negative terms.

However, the local media can, and should, focus on the positive idea that Singapore's high life expectancy is something to be admired, a result of the superlative medical care here.

Seniors should be revered as contributors with an immense wealth of experience.

Lim Chee Khiam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'Focus on positive attributes of seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe