In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that my wife, the co-owner of Support For Home In-Home Care, is ethnically Chinese and was born in Singapore. So, when something of interest happens there, she will either pass it along or I will notice it and take a look.
The latest of those items is a Huffington Post article by Paul H. Irving, Chairman, Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging; Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of California at Davis School of Gerontology. The fact that UC Davis is in our front yard at Support For Home is of interest, as well – at least to us. 🙂
The article is, “What We Can Learn About Aging From Little Singapore”. Now, according to my wife, Singapore knows more than we do about everything, including food, but that is a different discussion. But, to give her credit, Dr. Irving points out that, following its independence about 50 years ago, “New ideas, ambitious leadership and forward thinking investment led to rapid advances in economic development, education and public health. It was hard to ignore Singapore’s example and emergence as one of the most successful economies in the world.”
One of the points that Irving makes is that, while an aging population – not just here, but virtually world-wide – causes very serious problems, it also presents us with enormous assets:
This view realizes that increasing life span can be a positive force for economic and social opportunity, enhanced cohesion and intergenerational harmony. It understands that older adults represent a massive human capital asset waiting for a call to action. It appreciates the promise of disease prevention and wellness to extend health span. It acknowledges the abundant possibilities that the longevity dividend confers.
This recognition of the opportunities — of the upside of aging — is reflected in the innovations announced as part of Singapore’s Action Plan.
Singapore’s Action Plan includes 60 pretty specific focal points, “focused on health and wellness, learning, employment and financial security, volunteerism, housing, transportation, community enhancement and social inclusion. Singapore aims to build a “nation for all ages” with programs at the individual, community and city levels.”
Dr. Irving’s article is more than simply praise for Singapore, although it deserves praise. Rather, it is a challenge to us, in this country, to quit whining about the problems facing us, due to our aging population, and turn the coin over and look at the other side. It is a challenge to look at what we can do, as a culture and a country, to take advantage of the assets and opportunities that only an aging population brings.
What are your thoughts on the two sides of the coin?
Best wishes. Bert