Singapore: Ageing Gracefully
Rethinking health and wellness for the elderly
Research & analysis
By 2030, Singapore will experience a profound shift in its age demographics with the elderly population increasing by three times. This calls for a radical change in perspective on how care can be better delivered to the elderly.
The “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project explored current healthcare experiences of the ageing population in Singapore, to identify trends, behaviours and gaps in the interaction between elderly people and the healthcare system.
This project brings together designers and stakeholders in the healthcare and social service sectors to go through the human-centred design thinking process to innovate and improve healthcare services for the elderly.
Field research was conducted with low to middle income elderly, their caregivers and social workers in Singapore.
Emerging themes and design opportunities
1. Coping with challenges - identity, 'east' and 'west', loneliness, social circles and finances.
How can we ensure that the elderly in Singapore society are given options that help them to bridge the gap between their own methods and strategies, and the healthcare system?
2. Searching for new normal - identity and lifestyle.
How can an efficient system also become one that is aware of and responsive to people’s social needs and behaviours?
3. Cultural nuances - traditional beliefs and alternative medicine.
How can a monolithic healthcare system respond flexibly and appropriately to different cultural needs?
4. Caregiver and external aids - challenges faced by caregivers and volunteers.
How can volunteer and informal care be integrated more tightly into the system, so that they complement each other as parts of a holistic healthcare offer?
5. Having a robust retirement plan - low education and low paying jobs.
How can we redesign the retirement and healthcare system to catch the people who “slip through the cracks”, but still remain fair, feasible and affordable for Singapore’s integrated care system?
A review of the best practices for healthcare and ageing around the world - The full report traces the current care landscape, covering more than 40 international cases, presenting 5 core themes and 12 emerging trends in elderly care.
The purpose of Workshop for the public sector: Designing services and experiences for the elderly in communities and public healthcare institutions is to
Share and validate research findings - transform them into real-world applications
Help healthcare professionals learn/apply design thinking and user-centred design tools in their work
Generate ideas with respect to healthcare experience gaps faced by elderly Singaporeans today
70 stakeholders from the healthcare sector e.g. Alexandra Health, Eastern Health Alliance, SingHealth etc., social services e.g. the Agency of Integrated Care and National Council of Social Services etc, designers and developers from the design and technology sector participated in the workshop.
Participants were presented insights from the research study and were invited to provide expert feedback, validate research insights (i.e. personas and customer journeys) and co-design services based on design opportunities.
These initial concepts touched upon a wide spectrum of possible solutions often driven by community driven approaches to reduce the gap between healthcare providers and the elderly; involves identifying and connecting existing community welfare organizations to resolve specific elderly needs; establishing a wide network of caregivers within the elderly's community.
Imagining Kampung Admiralty
First-of-its-kind in Singapore, Kampung Admiralty is an integrated development that aspires to bring back the mutual helping culture typical of villages past, foster active ageing and ageing in place enabled by community-based care.
Imagining Kampung Admiralty is a design innovation workshop to facilitate and initiate co-design of enabling services in the shared spaces around Kampung Admiralty such as the Active Ageing Hub, Community Plaza, Community Farm etc. Our research insights were communicated to help focus the spotlight on active ageing, assisted living, and care needs.
Participating agencies include Ministry of Health Ageing Planning Office, National Environment Agency, Housing Development Board, Agency for Integrated Care, Alexandra Health, eldercare operators, architects and designers. The architects and space planners helped to validate the concepts in terms of feasibility.
Some of the initial concepts
Pet-Enabled Therapy (PET) Hub
Providing companionship, therapeutic benefits and opportunities to connect with other members of Kampung Admiralty through an alternative pet shelter.
A platform that matches flexible bite-sized job opportunities to its residents, based on their expertise, physical ability level, and most importantly, their interests.
A skill-matching platform that incentivises elderly volunteerism using credits that can be used and spent only in Kampung Admiralty.