According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years and older by the year 2030. Along with a rapidly ageing population, countries will face paradigm shifts in the needs of its people in areas such as healthcare, finance, and living environments.
Acting as a guide to help pave the way for healthier lifespans, the Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity report was drafted by an international commission of experts appointed by the United States National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Recommendations in the report call for governments and all sectors of society to assist the elderly in ensuring meaningful and healthier longer years.
The comprehensive report was released in early June 2022 and a summit was held in Singapore on 25 August at the NUHS auditorium to publicise the report as part of the NAM’s dissemination strategy in Asia. The summit saw participation, virtually and physically, from at least 12 different countries including experts and stakeholders across public and private sectors.
The summit was co-hosted by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National University Health System (NUHS), NUS, and the Tsao Foundation.
Professor John Eu-Li Wong, NUS Senior Vice President (Health Innovation & Translation) and Senior Advisor for NUHS, co-chaired the international commission together with Prof Linda Fried, Dean and DeLamar Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health as well as Director, Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center.
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Mr Heng Swee Keat, who was the Guest-of-Honour for the summit, noted that the report was most timely, and he was glad that the NAM has chosen Singapore to present the findings.
Giving examples of how Singapore is helping to support an ageing population, Mr Heng highlighted a project by NUS, the Housing & Development Board (HDB), and NUHS to develop Health District @ Queenstown.
“We are developing a suite of bold solutions in Queenstown to support residents in their journey towards healthy longevity, such as senior-friendly infrastructure, community-driven programmes, integrating health services into the community, and providing opportunities for seniors to stay active and engaged,” said Mr Heng.
Mr Heng also stressed the importance of taking “a holistic and human-centric approach in promoting the wellbeing of the elderly.”