Forward Singapore: Tackling ageing and inequality to develop a caring and just society.
Minister for Health Mr Ong Ye Kung spoke at the engagement on preparing for the next bound of aged care with 250 attendees from AIC, Community Care Sector Senior Leadership and the Regional Health Systems (RHS) on 5 December 2022. This was part of the Forward Singapore engagement under the Care pillar, which focuses on health and social support.
Minister of Health Mr Ong Ye Kung addressing 250 attendees from the community care sector on 5 December 2022. (Credit: MCI / Chee Boon Pin)
In his opening remarks, Minister Ong shared that there are two big social challenges our generation faces today – ageing and inequality.
A social compact around ageing
The Singaporean population is ageing rapidly and Minister Ong stressed the need for a renewed compact and social understanding around ageing. One of the ways this is done is through the Healthier SG initiative, where we shift our emphasis from reactively caring for those who are sick to proactively preventing individuals from falling ill. This will empower individuals to take care of their own health.
In addition, we need to improve aged care. Minister Ong emphasised the importance of Active Ageing Centres (AACs) in encouraging seniors to engage in activities, share nutritious meals and working with the healthcare clusters to ensure medication compliance and conduct regular health screenings, physical exercises.
By enabling seniors to age in their communities, their risk of social isolation is reduced and they can delay and prevent frailty and deterioration of health.
Minister Ong assured that the government will implement policies and set up systems for preventive care so that people do their part in taking care of their own health and build a society that values and supports family well-being and caregiving.
Uplifting the vulnerable in society
Minister of Health Mr Ong Ye Kung delivering his opening remarks at the Forward Singapore Care pillar engagement on Preparing for the next bound of Aged Care on 5 December 2022. (Credit: MCI / Chee Boon Pin)
Minister Ong also spoke on inequality and the need for those at the top and bottomt to mix around. Otherwise, those at the bottom have no hope of climbing up the income ladder over a generation. Social mobility grinds to a halt, and a permanent underclass emerges. In addition, if the top and bottom do not mix, society will become stratified, disunited and unstable.
Minister Ong added that there should always be a conscious effort by the society to uplift those at the bottom and the vulnerable, so that the next generation can always do better than the previous.
Attendees from the community care sector interacting with one another at the Forward Singapore Care pillar engagement on Preparing for the next bound of Aged Care on 5 December 2022
Developing a caring and just society
The Ministry of Health is building up preventive care as a public service where the middle to lower income will benefit the most. Furthermore, better integration of services through Community Link can assist families in accessing a suite of interventions through a single befriender.
Minister Ong hoped that the session today would encourage a change in developing a caring and just society as we embark on the Forward SG exercise together.
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