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Ageing and Health Conference for Policymakers and Researchers in Asia

The Ageing and Health Conference for Policymakers and Researchers in Asia was held from 4th – 6th September 2019 in Singapore. It was organised by Duke-NUS’ Centre for Ageing Research and Education (CARE).

Policymakers and researchers from ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea attended the conference and shared insights into data and national policies on ageing and health of their respective countries. The conference brought together policy makers and researchers from each of the ASEAN and the three counties for a conversation to try to bridge the research-policy divide. The intent was to promote evidence-based policy making for older adults in ASEAN. The conference was initiated by The Japanese Economic Research Institute and they funded the workshop. Regional initiatives on ageing by international agencies were also discussed during this conference.

Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly. Recent estimates suggest that by 2030, approximately one-quarter of Singaporeans will be above the age of 65. In the next few decades, Asia will be having the world’s oldest population. Thus, there is an an increasing need for issues related to ageing to be addressed at the regional level to enable policymakers and researchers from the various countries to share their findings and discuss future plans. According to Dr Chan Wei-Ming Angelique, Executive Director for CARE, the conference paved the way to provide opportunities for better dialogue among policymakers and researchers on population ageing.

CARE researchers in partnership with the Ministry of Health have completed the first phase of the “Transitions in Health, Employment, Social Engagement, and Intergenerational Transfers in Singapore Study’ (The SIGNS Study). THE SIGNS study aims to identify factors affecting active and productive ageing among older Singaporeans. The team surveyed a cohort of 4,549 community-dwelling Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 60 years and above. The researchers have completed the first phase of the study and the major findings were classified into physical and functional health, social engagement, intergenerational transfers, volunteerism, work and retirement and lifelong learning. CARE is currently conducting the second phase of the study which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

CARE aims to achieve good health, social inclusion and a high quality of life for the ageing population. The findings of the studies conducted by CARE will also be relevant for other countries in Asia. It’s move to reach out to regional countries, and to have researchers and policy makers side by side to discuss issues pertaining to an ageing population and to meet the needs of an ageing population through this conference can help improve the quality of life for the ageing population, as well as provide a holistic understanding of the challenges related to an ageing population. [APBN]