Channel NewsAsia

Can WhatsApp help to encourage 'successful' ageing?

Participants of a focus group discussion for The Action Plan for Successful Ageing suggested several examples of how technology might help the elderly connect more with their communities and families. 

SINGAPORE: Leveraging technology to help seniors stay connected with one another was one of the suggestions raised at the first focus group discussion about the Action Plan for Successful Ageing that was open to the public.

Some examples suggested during Thursday's (Aug 14) session included video-conferencing at studio apartments for the elderly, as well as creating WhatsApp chatgroups.

Some 60 seniors attended the session to discuss the action plan, which aims to engage Singaporeans to come up with strategies to help seniors age successfully. The plan will look into eight areas, including lifelong learning, health and wellness and retirement adequacy, with discussions centred on building 'A Nation for All Ages'. Participants will identify the areas they feel are most important in determining successful ageing. 

Some of the key areas the participants felt needed more attention was lifelong learning, aged care, and health and wellness. Other concerns included staying independent while still having family support in times of frailty. Some seniors also want to continue working in their silver years, for the sake of both financial security and independence.

One main concern that emerged was how to stay connected. Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor said: "Their concern is really not so much about the lack of infrastructure. I think they say there is infrastructure, but how do you get people to come down and participate, be involved in social activities? The concern is about staying connected and ensuring you have support from the community."

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia