I refer to the article by Straits Times political correspondent Yuen Sin (Filial piety norms: Caught between two worlds, April 25).
In this heartfelt article, the millennial reporter expressed her thoughts about having to navigate between starting her own family and caring for her elderly parents.
As a First World society, even while holding on to traditional values of filial piety, Singapore needs to provide attractive and viable care options for its seniors, to free the younger generation to pursue their own aspirations without a sense of guilt and despair.
The reporter wrote: “Living in an assisted living facility, surrounded by peers, professional help and a sense of community, could be a viable alternative or complement to relying on family members for care needs.”
The Assisted Living Facilities Association was set up to educate the public about assisted living and advocate for senior living options.
With the looming ageing population in Singapore and its attendant needs and associated problems, Singapore needs to urgently form an inter-agency task force to talk about senior living and have a realistic conversation about financial models for the care of seniors, including monetising their assets, and battle ageism to see these ideas through.
Many here have identified the problems associated with eldercare and conducted myriad studies to this effect, but often face strong headwinds in solving them.
For example, prospective operators of assisted living facilities have difficulty leasing properties to care for seniors owing to the curb on the number of tenants allowed, and there is no foreign staff quota available for assisted living facility operators.
Only when we have a plethora of attractive, self-sustaining and useful senior living options with care provided would we have arrived as a society.
Seniors in Singapore deserve better and so do their children.
Belinda Wee (Dr)
Assisted Living Facilities Association