Understanding Active Ageing in the Local Context
- Ageing with Strength and Meaning

Increase Healthy Life Expectancy
Is an increase in life span indicative of better health? Not necessarily. An average Singaporean may live to 84.8 years, but suffer the last 10 years in poor health [1].

Ageing is often accompanied by an increased risk in mental conditions and physical functional decline. These mental conditions include dementia, which affects 1 in 10 aged above 60, Alzheimer's and depression. Research has shown that more elderly are taking their own lives. We believe that social isolation, and physical and mental illnesses are contributing factors.

However, old age does not equate to poor health. It is possible to age well and enjoy a good quality of life in the latter years. For some older adults, it's possible to have one or more health conditions that, when well controlled, have little influence on their well-being [2]. As a forerunner in geriatric medicine, our Institute of Geriatrics and Active Ageing (IGA) at TTSH aims to help older adults to:

  • Age well (physically, mentally and socially)
  • Live well in illness

Beyond mere Physical Wellness
Our goal is to help the elderly age with meaning and purpose. According to the World Health Organization, healthy ageing is more than the absence of diseases, physically [3]. Rather, good health is a multi-dimensional construct of physical, psychological, and social wellness.

Currently, there is limited research looking at the well-being of older adults, especially in the local context. IGA (Institute of Geriatrics and Active Ageing) aims to deep-dive into how our elderly transit to the various roles, such as caregiver, retiree and more.  

For example, our WiSE (Well-being of the Singapore Elderly) study collects data on the prevalence and burden of dementia and depression among the elderly population in Singapore, and identifies the associated factors, healthcare use and economic impact of depression and dementia.

Through research, we aim to develop older adults to become adaptive experts who can manage transitions in life effectively.

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[1] Yahoo! (2019, June 20). Singaporeans topped world's life expectancy list at 84.8 years: study. Yahoo! News. https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singaporeans-topped-worlds-life-expectancy-list-at-848-years-study-154341110.html.

[2] World Health Organization. What is Healthy Ageing? World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/ageing/healthy-ageing/en/.

[3] Beard, J. R., de Carvalho, I. A., Sumi, Y., Officer, A., & Amuthavalli Thiyagarajan, J. (2017, December 11). Healthy ageing: moving forward. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/95/11/17-203745/en/