Singaporeans today are living longer, and the population is getting older.

This puts complex pressures on the healthcare system—from an increase in chronic conditions, to growing demand for services that keep people healthier in their old age.

It’s why strategies and interventions to reduce costs and improve health outcomes need to target seniors’ health management behaviours.

An aging population

Just over one million people—over 25 percent of the population—are 55 and older today. By 2030, 40 percent of residents in Singapore are expected to be age 55 and older, and this jumps to 44 percent by 2040.

Active in health

Singaporeans 55 and over are engaged in managing their health. More older people monitored their weight, dietary intake, cholesterol and physical activity in 2016 than did in 2014.

The good news is, Singapore boasts one of the world’s most highly-connected populations, and for people 55 and over, using health technology is a natural extension of the ubiquity of connected devices and the high overall rates of technology adoption in Singapore.

Active in Health - 2014

59%

Weight

51%

Dietary intake

45%

Cholesterol

43%

Physical Activity

Active in Health - 2016

73%

Weight

61%

Dietary intake

59%

Cholesterol

52%

Physical Activity

Riding the wave of eHEALTH

Silver surfers are not simply using digital health tools, they value them. Sixty-four percent use technology at least once a month to manage their healthcare, up 11 percentage points since 2014.

The variety of digital tools used include websites (56 percent), mobile apps (40 percent), electronic health records (20 percent), social media (20 percent) and wearables (20 percent.)

These trends illustrate that health services can use digital channels—along with improvements in health literacy—to better engage with local aged populations. That the 55+ group embraces digital health tools also eliminates a significant barrier to lasting adoption.

“64 percent use technology at least once a month to manage their healthcare...”

The tide has turned

In common with many other Singaporeans, the silver surfers are also moving in a different direction when it comes to health visits.

Twenty-eight percent would prefer remote health visits if it meant seeing a doctor more frequently. A large portion of this population would also agree to use remote patient monitoring, especially if recommended by their doctor.

Take the plunge

People age 55 and older in Singapore are excellent candidates to adopt innovative healthcare technology as part of their health management practices. To build on this, government-led health initiatives need to consider several fundamentals:

Treat the person, not the demographic.

With big data insights and service design, you can develop solutions that address individuals’ needs.

Connect health and social sectors.

Data sharing, real-time information access, virtual at-home care models and community-based healthcare ecosystems, will improve aged care programmes.

Create strong support networks.

Active seniors can use digital health tools to getnvolved in wellness programs and receive healthy reminders, and connect to a community of care.

Push the boundaries.

Consider use cases for smart technologies, such as AI, voice activation, virtual assistants, robotics, exoskeleton technology, and Internet of Things.

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Singapore’s silver surfers are transcending the analogue. The combination of their health management behaviours and access to one of the world’s most advanced and efficient healthcare systems provide many opportunities to extend quality of life and good health.

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