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Invest in elderly Singaporeans: Chen Show Mao

Tapping on Singapore's "repository of social and culture capacity" could offer not just economic benefits, but societal ones as well, says the Workers' Party Member of Parliament.

SINGAPORE: The Government should invest more in elderly Singaporeans as the country's population continues to age, said Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC Mr Chen Show Mao. 

Speaking in Parliament on Friday (May 30), Mr Chen said Singapore can reap economic benefits if investments are made to redesign jobs, work places, processes and culture for older workers. This would help Singapore fully draw on the experiences and know-how of older workers, despite a slow down in their physical bodies.

It would also enable them to be as productive as or even more productive than their younger counterparts, he added.

Mr Chen called for more investment to help elderly Singaporeans age in place. Calling them a "repository of social and cultural capital", he said this would tap their long-standing ties to the community.

"Investing in elderly Singaporeans will reward our society with economic, social and cultural contributions would be able to make with our assistance. It would also allow us to be inclusive, which is the basis of community and social cohesion," the Workers' Party MP said.

Employing them or encouraging them to volunteer in schools to teach subjects such as social studies and national education are just some ways of doing so, he added. 

To help the elderly age in place, Mr Chen also suggested providing more support for informal caregivers. These would include friends or family of the elderly person.

"It's well-documented that caregivers often suffer declines in their own financial circumstances, and their mental physical health as a result of their care giving role," Mr Chen said.

Support could take the form of leave for informal caregivers, flexible work arrangements or Central Provident Fund top-ups, he suggested.

Mr Chen noted there are plans for a national conversation over the next few months, in preparation of a National Action Plan for Successful Ageing, and he was heartened that elderly Singaporeans would be a part of this.

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