SINGAPORE: Programmes to promote active ageing among Singaporeans have yielded some positive results.
Senior Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office, Heng Chee How told Parliament on Thursday that the Wellness Programme, introduced in 2008 to encourage seniors to look after their health and stay physically active, is well on track to reach one in two citizens above the age of 50 by 2015.
Currently, the programme reaches out to 200,000 seniors.
Clubs for brisk—walking, qigong, tai chi and dance have also sprouted with a combined membership of more than 135,000.
Active ageing is a key plank of the government’s strategy to encourage healthy living as Singapore faces a greying population.
"Our efforts in promoting active ageing are yielding results because so many of our seniors already live active and meaningful lives and they are helping many others to do the same," said Mr Heng.
One of the key components of the programme is health screening.
Mr Heng said the government will continue to monitor the costs.
"In terms of the average health screening price, there is a range of them depending on who the provider is and what particular screening activities are contained within each package. But on average, it was S$25 previously and it has gone up by an average of S$3 to S$28. And the reason for that is because the screening has been improved in two ways," said Mr Heng.
"First, in—terms of follow—up, instead of the People’s Association staff calling up the seniors to remind them to go for follow—up, the health screening providers now call them up. Secondly, the seniors under this arrangement can nominate their GP for follow up checkups, so they develop a closer relationship with the GP and that enhances medical compliance and benefits health of seniors," he explained.
Mr Heng said the wellness sites have mostly absorbed the increase.
"In terms of the out of pocket outlay, it is still between S$2 and S$5 for each senior," he said.
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