The elderly in Singapore are generally well-supported and play an important role in their families. This is reflected in the observations made in the latest report on Ageing Families in Singapore1 by the Ministry of Social and Family Development:
- Families remain a key source of physical, emotional and financial support for the elderly. Grown-up children accounted for the bulk of caregivers of elderly who needed physical caregiving. The majority of younger married residents provided financial support to their parents. In terms of emotional support, the majority of the elderly2 maintained close ties with their families through frequent interaction.
- Elderly members play an important role in the ageing family, either as confidants or as caregivers to other family members.
- Societal attitudes towards the older generation are positive. The majority of survey respondents agreed on the importance of intergenerational ties and filial values. For example, the majority of younger married residents (63.4%) felt the ideal living arrangement for an elderly who could not manage living alone was to move in with his/her children. This was much higher than the proportion of elderly residents (37.8%) who felt the same way.
The report is based on data from various sources, including surveys. Aged resident households (i.e. those with at least one member aged 65 years and above) in Singapore have increased significantly in numbers and as a proportion of all resident households between 2000 and 2014. Amongst aged resident households, the proportions of one-generation households comprising a married couple without co-residing children and one-person households have increased. Correspondingly, the proportion of three-generation or more aged resident households has decreased. Nuclear families have remained stable at around one in four aged resident households. (See Annex A for details)
The changing composition of aged resident households may result in a small group who lack support from their immediate family. Extended families will be especially important in providing a valuable network of kinship and mutual support for this group. MSF’s ongoing study on extended families seeks to understand how the extended family can better support its elderly members as household structures evolve. Areas to be studied include relations and living arrangements among extended family members, as well as attitudes and perceptions, and the challenges faced by caregivers. This study will be completed in 2016.
1 Please see report on Ageing Families in Singapore at http://app.msf.gov.sg/Portals/0/Summary/research/FDG/Ageing%20Families%20Report%20Insight%20Series%2020151124.pdf
2 This group comprises residents aged 65 years and above, who are main lessees or registered tenants in HDB flats.
See infographic here: http://app.msf.gov.sg/Portals/0/Summary/research/FDG/Infographic_20151109.pdf
Resident Households by Presence of Member aged 65 years and above, 2000-2014
Resident Households with at least 1 member aged 65 years and above, by Household Structure, 2000-2014