SINGAPORE: Singapore can benefit from studying Denmark's success in rehabilitation and home care for the elderly while embracing assistive technology, said Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Heng Chee How on Tuesday (Nov 15).
This is especially since Singapore is moving away from a model that is strong in acute or short-term care, to improving "step-down care" - community- or home-based care - for patients who have been discharged from hospital, said Mr Heng at a dialogue session between the two countries.
Singapore and Denmark share similarities in facing a rapidly ageing population. In less than 15 years, one in four people in both countries will be above 65 years old. They are similar in population size, are among the richest countries in the world and have no natural resources.
During the dialogue organised by the Royal Danish Embassy, both countries exchanged ideas and strategies on addressing the challenges of an ageing population. They gave presentations on how to design elderly-friendly societies and implement initiatives on active ageing.
One example of interest was Denmark's living labs, where state-of-the-art assistive technologies are demonstrated and opened for public trials.
"Assistive technology is going to become an increasingly important part of the story," Mr Heng said. "Addressing the fact that we don't have as many pairs of hands, you need to empower the individual."
Danish Ambassador to Singapore Dorte Bech Vizard said that Denmark was likewise interested in working with Singapore on promoting active ageing.
"We have many innovative Danish companies coming up with solutions, and they'd like to test them here in Singapore to see how they work in an Asian setting," he said. "There's a lot of interest in trying to mix the solutions in Denmark with the setting here in Singapore."