Keeping The Ageing Population in Singapore Strong: A Guide for Singaporean Families

seniors in exercise and physiotherapy programmes

Keeping The Ageing Population in Singapore Strong

As healthcare specialists here in Singapore, we care for the ageing population in Singapore and understand the importance of family. Taking care of our parents and grandparents, our cherished “Ah Mas” and “Ah Gongs”, is a core value. But with our busy lives, knowing how to support their well-being can be challenging. Ah Mas and Ah Gongs, the pillars of our families, have always been there for us, their love as constant and comforting as the familiar scent of durian in season. But time, like the Singapore sun, can leave its mark. We see it in the silver strands replacing their once vibrant hair, the hint of a slower gait.

Here’s the thing, Singapore families: while we cherish them fiercely, life’s whirlwind can sometimes make it tricky to know how to best support their well-being. Solid and healthy, right at home. Let’s ensure their golden years truly sparkle!

Here’s a guide focusing on simple yet effective ways to keep your loved ones strong and healthy at home:

Makan Matters: A Deliciously Balanced Diet for Our Silver Generation

pic of healthy looking Singaporean food

Singaporean cuisine is a symphony of flavours, but navigating it for our elders requires a special touch. Here’s how to create a “makan” (eating) plan that keeps their bodies and taste buds happy:

Fueling Their Day:

  • Swap Out the White: Ditch white rice for its brown rice cousin. Wholemeal bread or a bowl of oats are also fantastic options. These complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy, keeping them feeling fuller for longer and avoiding those dreaded afternoon slumps.
  • Hawker Delights, Done Right: Eating out is a cherished Singaporean tradition. When dining at hawker centres, opt for steamed dishes like “Song Fish” (sliced fish) with brown rice or “Cai Fan” (mixed vegetable rice) with lean protein like steamed chicken or tofu. Avoid dishes heavy in oil or with crispy fried toppings.

Rainbow on a Plate:

  • Nature’s Candy Box: Fill their plates with vibrant vegetables and fruits. Aim for at least three servings a day. Think local favourites like “Kang Kong” (water spinach), which is rich in iron and vitamins, or antioxidant-rich tomatoes. Remember tropical delights like papaya, packed with vitamin C, or a handful of berries for a burst of antioxidants and sweetness.

Protein Powerhouses:

  • Every Meal Matters: Include protein to maintain muscle mass and bone health. Lean protein options abound! Opt for fish like salmon or mackerel, which are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids for brain health. Skinless chicken or turkey breast are excellent choices or try some tofu stir-fried with vegetables for a vegetarian twist. Eggs are another protein powerhouse, perfect for a quick and nutritious breakfast.

Supplements: A Helping Hand

  • Consulting a doctor: While a balanced diet is vital, sometimes additional support might be needed. Discuss with their doctor if a daily multivitamin or specific supplements like calcium for bone health or vitamin D for better calcium absorption could be beneficial.

Remember: Presentation is key! Dazzle them with colourful arrangements on their plates. Experiment with different textures and flavours to keep mealtimes exciting. Most importantly, enjoy these meals together—create lasting memories and strengthen family bonds over delicious food.


 Sweet Dreams: Nurturing Restful Sleep for Our Silver Generation

As we age, our sleep patterns naturally change. While the goal of 7-8 hours a night remains ideal, many ageing population in Singapore need help with fragmented sleep or waking up earlier than desired. Here are some tips to help them achieve a more restful slumber:

  • Embrace the Power of Routine: Consistency is Key! Encourage a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day, even on weekends. A regular pattern helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Calming the Mind and Body: Create a relaxing bedtime routine about 30 minutes before lights out. Winding down could include a warm bath, gentle stretches, soothing music, or reading a calming book. It is best to avoid activities like watching TV dramas, which can interfere with good sleep.
  • Making Their Haven Sleep-Friendly: Ensure their bedroom is calm, dark, and quiet. Install blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light.
  • Napping Wisely: Short daytime naps (around 20–30 minutes) can be beneficial, but avoid napping too late in the afternoon as it can make falling asleep at night more difficult.

Understanding Changes in Sleep Patterns:

  • Acknowledge the Shift: It’s important to acknowledge that sleep needs may change with age. While some seniors may still require 7-8 hours, others may function well on slightly less. The key is to focus on the quality of their sleep, ensuring they feel rested and refreshed upon waking.
  • Addressing Underlying Issues: If sleep problems persist, consult their doctor. Some medical conditions, like sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, or depression, can disrupt sleep. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve sleep quality.
  • Prioritising Comfort: Discomfort due to pain or difficulty getting comfortable in bed can disrupt sleep. Ensure they have a supportive mattress and pillows. Address any pain concerns with their doctor.

By implementing these strategies and openly communicating about their sleep experiences, you can help your loved ones achieve a more restful night’s sleep, leaving them energised and ready to embrace each day.


Keep Moving: Fun and Functional Exercise for Our Silver Generation

Regular exercise is a magic potion for the ageing population in Singapore, keeping their bodies strong and their minds sharp. The good news? You don’t need to purchase equipment or expensive gym memberships! Here are some ideas to get them moving:

  • Embrace the Great Outdoors: Singapore boasts beautiful parks and green spaces. Encourage daily walks to enjoy the fresh air and scenic views. Walking is a fantastic, low-impact exercise that improves mobility, balance, and cardiovascular health.
  • Tai Chi Time: This gentle yet powerful exercise combines movement, mindfulness, and deep breathing. Many community centres offer free Tai Chi classes specifically designed for seniors. The slow, controlled movements improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, all while promoting relaxation and stress reduction.
  •  Chair Exercises with a Cheer: Remember to underestimate the power of chair exercises! These movements can be done from the comfort of their living room, strengthening muscles and improving balance. The best part? Various free resources are available online.

Healthy 365: A Treasure Trove of Free Resources

Did you know the Singapore government offers a fantastic free app called Healthy 365? This app is a one-stop shop for health and wellness, including exercise! It features a variety of exercise programmes specifically designed for both the ageing and the young population in Singapore with modifications for different fitness levels. From gentle stretching routines to low-impact aerobics, there’s something for everyone.

Making Exercise a Joyful Journey

Remember, the key is to make exercise enjoyable! Find activities they like, whether dancing to their favourite tunes, a community walking group, or even light gardening. The most important thing is to get them moving regularly, even if it’s just for short bursts throughout the day.

By incorporating these tips and exploring the free resources available, you can help your loved ones stay active, independent, and brimming with life!

Regular Check-Ups: Prevention is Key for The Ageing Population in Singapore.

As our loved ones age, regular health check-ups become even more crucial. Early detection of health concerns allows for prompt intervention and better management, leading to a healthier and happier life. The good news for Singapore’s “Pioneer Generation”? There are fantastic resources available to make these check-ups accessible and affordable.

Subsidised Screenings:

Through the Health Promotion Board (HPB), the Singapore government offers heavily subsidised screenings for our Pioneer Generation citizens. These screenings, often referred to as “Screen for Life”, focus on common age-related health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cervical and colorectal cancers. Early detection of these conditions can greatly improve treatment outcomes and overall well-being.

Free Talks and Resources:

The HPB website is a treasure trove of information on senior health. It regularly hosts free talks and workshops on various health topics relevant to older adults, covering everything from managing chronic conditions to maintaining mental well-being.

Working with their Doctor:

Schedule yearly check-ups with their doctor. These appointments allow for a comprehensive review of their overall health, including blood tests, physical examinations, and discussions about their concerns. Ask questions and express any worries about their health.

Making the Most of Available Resources:

Here’s how you can help your loved ones navigate the healthcare system:

  • Assist them in registering for Screen for Life programs.
  • Accompany them to their doctor’s appointments and help them take notes.
  • Research health topics online using reliable sources like the HPB website.
  • Work collaboratively with their doctor to create a personalised healthcare plan.

By being proactive and utilising the fantastic, often free resources available, you can ensure your beloved elders receive the best possible care, allowing them to age gracefully and healthily. Remember, the HPB website ( is a valuable resource for more information on Screen for Life programmes, health talks, and senior health information.

 Physiotherapy: An Unsung Hero for Our Silver Generation

Physiotherapy is a hidden gem in senior healthcare, often undervalued due to a lack of public awareness. But let’s unveil its true potential! A physiotherapist is a highly trained healthcare professional who can become your loved one’s partner in staying strong, independent, and living life to the fullest.

Here’s why physiotherapy deserves a spot in your senior care plan:

Pre- and Post-Surgery Support:

Think of a physiotherapist as a pre-surgery coach and post-surgery cheerleader. They can design personalised exercise programs to prepare your loved one for surgery, improving their strength and flexibility and leading to a smoother recovery. After surgery, physiotherapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitation, helping them regain mobility, muscle strength, and balance. It not only speeds up recovery but also reduces the risk of complications.

Highly Recognised and Supported:

Orthopaedic surgeons and the Singapore Ministry of Health highly recognise the value of physiotherapy. In many cases, it’s an integral part of a patient’s recovery plan.

Beyond Surgery: Managing Daily Aches and Pains

Physiotherapy isn’t just for surgery! Many of our elders experience daily aches and pains associated with ageing. Here’s where a physiotherapist shines. They can assess the source of pain, design targeted exercises to improve flexibility and strength, and even recommend pain management techniques.

Insurance Coverage:

While not always covered, some insurance plans offer partial reimbursement for physiotherapy services on a case-by-case basis. Check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage.

Building Core Strength and Confidence

The benefits of physiotherapy go beyond the physical. A personalised exercise programme strengthens their core, improving mobility and balance. This newfound confidence empowers them to maintain their independence and reduces the risk of falls, a significant concern for our ageing population in Singapore.

Taking the First Step:

Consulting a physiotherapist doesn’t require a doctor’s referral in most cases. Schedule an appointment and discuss your loved one’s specific needs. Many physiotherapy clinics offer geriatric programs specifically designed for the needs of older adults. Never allow the beloved senior physical weakness to deteriorate into disability. Physiotherapy can help them rebuild their core strength.

Unlocking a World of Possibilities:

By incorporating physiotherapy into your loved one’s care plan, you’re addressing aches and pains and opening doors to a world of possibilities. The ageing population in Singapore can continue enjoying their favourite activities, maintain their independence, and embrace a life filled with strength, confidence, and a renewed sense of well-being. Don’t underestimate the power of physiotherapy – it’s a gift that keeps giving!





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