Why engaging old folk socially is important

Socially excluded elderly people are more likely to suffer cognitive impairment that can lead to dementia, a study on the China situation shows. There are lessons for Singapore too.

Recent news reports indicate that more elderly people in Singapore are taking their own lives. Last year, 129 people aged 60 and older committed suicide. This group formed 36 per cent of 361 suicides reported in 2017, compared with 29 per cent of 429 suicides the year before.

Ageing can be a difficult period for many. As people get older, their health deteriorates. Some older people lose their spouses; others have no living children. Yet others may be unable to participate in social activities and so lose their social circle and network support. Another issue is that some do not have enough funds to tide them over in their golden years.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2018, with the headline 'Social exclusion increases risk of cognitive impairment'. Print Edition | Subscribe