Majulah Singapore, supporting our seniors into their golden years  

In a way, the National Day Rally is like a much-awaited sequel to Budget 2023, with many of us eager to discover what goodies the Government will dish out. We were in luck because Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong did not disappoint as he announced meaningful changes to our housing framework, one that will ensure that access to prime location flats remains sustainable and fair for the long haul. But besides taking care of the needs of the young, the worries facing older people have not gone unnoticed by the PAP either. 

Securing retirement adequacy  

Ten years ago, the average life expectancy in Singapore was 81 years old. It is now 83, and the figure will only continue to rise with the wonders of modern science and healthcare. While longevity means more time with our loved ones, one question remains: what can we do to alleviate the stress for those who have not accumulated enough savings to see them through their golden years?  

Because, unlike their younger counterparts, low-skilled workers in their 50s and early 60s lack the runway to upskill and switch to a more well-paid job. They also tend to be more financially stretched, sandwiched between taking care of children on the cusp of adulthood and their even more elderly parents when they are getting frailer themselves. Therefore, without artificially inflating wages, a more practical solution involves incentivising our ‘young seniors’ to stay longer in the workforce and maximise their savings. 

Cue the $7 billion Majulah Package. Besides a Medisave top-up and a Retirement Savings Bonus for those who have not yet accrued the CPF Basic Retirement Sum, an Earn-and-Save Bonus will provide up to $1,000 annually for those who remain in work. There are also plans to enhance current policies, including the Silver Support Scheme, Workfare Income Supplement and Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, all of which will help boost the retirement funds of lower and middle-income Singaporeans.  

As Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng shared, Singaporeans can be assured that the Government will help them meet their basic retirement needs. And based on its track record, the PAP has never been one to renege on its promises. 

Creating spaces for an ageing society  

Finally, caring for our seniors is a complex endeavour that goes beyond dollars and cents, with the Majulah Package one part of the equation to help our seniors lead active and fulfilling lives. 

In preparation for Singapore becoming a super-aged society in 2026, the PAP Government have been ramping up a diversity of infrastructure to help our seniors age in place. One such example is the expansion of Active Ageing Centres (AAC) networks, allowing seniors a space to engage in recreational activities and stay socially engaged. Meanwhile, other changes to our built environment, such as dementia-friendly neighbourhoods and improving the accessibility of flats with ramps and grab bars through the EASE programme, will go far to encourage independent living.  

Ageing is inevitable and experiencing old age within a society dominated by young people, differs from experiencing it in a society where a larger proportion of people belong to older age groups. But with careful planning, we can chart the way for our seniors to age with grace, confidence and peace of mind. 

Photo Source: Lee Hsien Loong /Tan See Leng/Tin Pei Ling via Facebook