Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

With more seniors living alone, knowing and caring for our neighbours should be a norm

It is worrying that the number of seniors living alone in Singapore is going up. The Department of Statistics estimates that 83,000 elderly persons will be living alone by 2030 as compared to the 47,000 seniors aged 65 and above in 2016.

With more seniors living alone, knowing and caring for our neighbours should be a norm

We can look out for seniors in our neighbourhoods by showing small gestures of care and concern, says the writer.

William Wan, General Secretary, Singapore Kindness Movement

I thank Mr Sng Hock Lin for bringing awareness to the plight of aged, lonely hoarders, such as the case of the man found dead among piles of rubbish in his flat. (“Hoarders need emotional support. Here's how we can help them”, Nov 11)

It is worrying that the number of seniors living alone in Singapore is going up. The Department of Statistics estimates that 83,000 elderly persons will be living alone by 2030 as compared to the 47,000 seniors aged 65 and above in 2016.

According to the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study in 2012 by the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, seniors living alone and feeling isolated were twice as likely as their peers to develop depressive symptoms as a result of loneliness.

Interaction and emotional support are key to prevent vulnerable seniors from suffering depression.

While it is reasonable to expect immediate family members to be responsible for the seniors’ physical and emotional needs, some of them may not have loved ones living nearby, and others may be estranged from their relatives.

Neighbours are a natural support group by sheer physical proximity. 

We can look out for seniors in our neighbourhoods by showing small gestures of care and concern. The key is to know them.  

If we see seniors having difficulty walking or carrying many bags, we can give them a hand. We can smile, greet and start conversations to get to know them.

Madam Rasamal Nadayson, a 82-year-old affectionately known as “Auntie Rose”, lives alone at her Dover Road flat and takes pride in being a friend to her elderly neighbours. 

As recently reported on The Pride, a website of the Singapore Kindness Movement, when her next-door neighbour fell ill, Madam Rasamal visited him regularly at the hospital and she continued to help when he returned home.

Madam Rasamal spends time chatting to her elderly neighbours, encouraging them not to skip meals, and not to take too much sugar and salt.

There is no good reason why any of our neighbours should be lonely. And certainly, no one should die alone.

We can all do our part to help make older Singaporeans feel cared for and less alone by providing a listening ear and fostering a supportive community that looks out for one another. 

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

seniors community social neighbours

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa