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Linking the generations in Singapore

  1. Leng Leng THANG, National University of Singapore Linking the generations in Singapore: Strengthening families, Building communities 1 International Conference on Building an Intergenerational Nation 7-10 March 2022, UK
  2. Singapore • A small city-state situated at the southern tip of the Malay peninsular in Southeast Asia • Total land area of Singapore is 648.1 square kilometer. • population – 5.68 mil (resident pop: 4 mil) • Density- 7810 persons/km2 • multi-cultural society- 74.3% of Chinese, 13.5% Malays, 9% Indians and 3.2% from other ethnic groups. • 65 yr and over: 15.2%, TFR: 1.1 • Life expectancy: 83.9 yrs (F:86.1, M=81.5) rticles/2017/07/festivals-multiracial- singapore/
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  4. Policy approach to aging • Long term strategic approach: building upon earlier efforts • Transition to a positive gerontology framework: From aging as problems to aging as opportunities • Many Helping Hands approach and Family as the first line of support • Promoting Aging-in-place Efforts to promote intergenerational support and bonding in the family 4
  5. “The starting point, however, must be individual responsibility to plan and prepare for old age. The family is the first line of care. The community is the second line of support to enable families in their care-giving role. The role of the State is to provide a framework that enables the individual, the family and the community to play their part.” (IMC Report, 1999) Many Helping Hands approach 5
  6. Strengthening family as the first line of help  We believe that the family is the primary care-giving unit and the bedrock of support for seniors. The family must be supported and strengthened in its ability to care for its older members to ensure that institutionalization remains a measure of last resort.” (Report on the Ageing Population, 2006:12).
  7. Housing Policy – Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) to promote close proximity and co-residence 7
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  10. 10 hdb-flats-for-multi-generation-families-popular-with-8-in-10- units 115 sq m 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms (2 attached) 2013- first launch (about 2000 units in 2018)
  11. Housing schemes promoting family ties • More married children live in close proximity or in a nearby estate near their parents: increase from 37.8% (2013) to 44.1% (2018) • Preference for “intimacy at a distance” – increase from 47.9% (2013) to 50.8% (2018) • Decline in older residents living together with their married children from 17.2% (2013) to 11.4% (2018). Decline in preference to do (17.1% →11.8%) • --High frequency of visits- 86.9% of visits (married children and parents) each other at least once a month, fall from 89.2% (2013) • --Proximity increases frequency of visits, activities: having meals together, going on outings and exchanging suggestions/advice about personal problems. (Ref: HDB Sample Household Survey 2018) 11
  13. Our-Grands-2021.aspx 14
  14. Intergenerational approaches in the community
  15. Budget S$3 billion over 5 years ACTION PLAN FOR SUCCESSFUL AGING (2015) • Public consultation-with over 4,000 participants in almost 50 focus group discussions • More than 70 initiatives in 12 areas health and wellness, learning, volunteerism, employment, housing, transport, public spaces, respect and social inclusion, retirement adequacy, healthcare and aged care, protection for vulnerable seniors and research. 16
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  17. Promoting intergenerational integration in the community • Kampong for All Ages – Cohesive Home with Intergenerational Harmony (community befriending, co-location of aged and childcare services )
  18. 2002-2005: Taskforce on grandparenting and intergenerational bonding (Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports) 2006: National Family Week-celebrating three generations 19
  19. Taskforce efforts to promote IG in community • Funding intergenerational programs • Best Grandparenting and Intergenerational Bonding Awards • Grandparent of the Year Award • Designated 3rd week of November as Grandparents’ Day • Published guide to start intergenerational programs • Funding intergenerational workshops: 2003, 2004 • Surveys 20
  20. From 2006: As part of active aging Events organized by Council for Third Age: Lifelong Learning, Social Activities, Family bonding activities (eg Grandparent’s Day) Seniors Cosplay competition 2011 Top prize – Robert Ong (70 years old) and his grandson (5 years old) “Practising with my grandson for the competition has allowed me to spend more time with him and for us to become closer.” (Mr Wong) cosplay 21
  21. Schools-initiated intergenerational initiatives • - Value-in-Action (VIA) projects in schools (from 2014) education/values-in-action-via Project Cheer A major highlight in our VIA projects is ACJC’s collaboration with the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF) on their signature Project Cheer initiative. Students will design and implement community service activities to bring joy to the beneficiaries in six charities supported by the foundation – Canossaville Children’s Home, Fei Yue Community Services, Lakeside Family Centre, Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), Singapore Children’s Society and St Luke’s Eldercare. Through the myriad of engaging activities conducted for the underprivileged children and elderly, our students will learn that building a relationship through conversing with the beneficiaries carries greater value than just organising a successful VIA project.
  22. Source: Mentoring Alliance Singapore, Report of Impact Assessment Study of Intergenerational Mentoring Programme By Conjunct Consulting Tri-generational mentoring Mentors: Older adults and college students Mentees: Secondary/elementary school students
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  25. Promoting grandparent- grandchildren bonding ▪Activities promoting inclusion of grandparents: - Grandparent Day (4th Sunday of Nov) - -family=3G family
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  27. 30 Age-Integrated facilities/share sites/co-locations
  28. Day care center for children Day care center for elderly School after-care service Set up since 1995
  29. St Joseph's Home opens childcare centre, intergenerational playground in nursing home (Aug 2017) opens-childcare-centre-intergenerational-9163172
  30. SJSM Village: Set up in July 2021 Nursing home (200 ), Senior Care Centre (100)- Winter Pre-School Centre (200-300 children)- Spring 34 (
  31. 'Modern kampung' (village) : the first co-location site • B1 and B2: carpark • B1: Supermarket (wheelchair accessible), Bank • 1: Community plaza (covered atrium for exercises and events) • 1: Pharmacy and Retail (Starbucks, café) • 2: Hawker Centre (food court with 900 seats) • 3 and 4: Medical Centre (Alexandra Health System) • 6: Child care centre, Active aging hub, Day care centre, community park, playground and exercise station, link to apartments • 7: Senior care centre (including dementia care) • 8: Sky terrace (community garden)
  32. Every morning, the young parents drop off their kids at the childcare centre here, to be picked up by the grandparents later in the day. The old folks meet their friends for taiji or gardening at the community garden, or go for their regular check-ups at the medical centre. After school, the grandparents bring the kids to the hawker centre for some food, or to the playground to run around. If it is raining, the children can play in the sheltered community plaza, or take a nap upstairs in their grandparents' homes. In the evenings after work, the young parents can pick up fresh groceries from the FairPrice supermarket here to prepare dinner for the whole family. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's 2018 National Day Message. 2018
  33. Intergenerational approach as a new paradigm in meeting social and community needs FROM: Design thinking workshop on ‘Innovative Configurations of Social and Community Facilities’ (Urban Redevelopment Authority, March 2017)
  34. Curriculum (eg preschool and senior learning) Inter- generational Programs and Activities Space design (Inter- generational contact zone) POLICY IG perspectives/policies/approaches/agenda 39
  35. Think ICZ , think out of the box • Design with the question “Can the space be ICZ?” -can be purpose built. E.g. dining areas, playground, toilet (wash basis for wheelchair and children) - Think what can be shared and co-located – e.g. toy/children’s library in old folk’s homes, playground in nursing home, kindergarten in retirement homes - Bringing a little IG for fun and play – cocktail party in nursing home (Ref: ICZ, 2021) - Designing IG play At the Santa Claus sports Institute in Lapland, University of Lapland Photo from BBC story (2/8/06) 1/hi/world/europe/4691088.stm
  36. Conclusion Aging future and Intergenerational nation • Integration: innovative hubs, co- locations, co-services and flexibility • Family focus: bonding and care (normalizing caregiving across generations) • Technology: how do we harness it for more (not less) intergenerational interaction?
  37. Thank you