Speaking at the opening of the High-Level Forum on the Silver Economy in Helsinki yesterday (9 Jul), Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said that Singaporeans, who are living longer, can help to offset the low birth rates if more of them continue working for longer.
Dr Khor noted that life expectancy for Singaporeans is getting longer. It was 84.8 years in 2017.
“This brings opportunities for greater labour force participation at older ages, and is important for a country like Singapore where birth rates are relatively low,” she said.
Dr Khor said that the Government’s focus is to “help our seniors maintain their desired quality of life even in old age, and can afford the healthcare that they need, while ensuring financial sustainability in the healthcare system in the face of longevity”.
“Our strategies to help our citizens prepare for longevity are a constant work-in-progress. They are reviewed and changed to adapt to evolving needs of Singaporeans, demographics, and societal challenges,” she added.
Elderly work till death
Meanwhile, there have been reports of elderly Singaporeans continue to work till they literally fall dead at their work place.
For example, sometime ago, there was a media report about an 80-year-old dishwasher, Mdm Ho, who died while working at ABC hawker centre in Bukit Merah. She died inside the toilet, sitting on the toilet bowl.
According to the report, Mdm Ho worked daily from morning till night, 7 days a week. She had to wash some 200 dishes a day. She only had 2 days off a month.
“When I saw her yesterday, she was walking unsteadily and appeared pale. I heard she has been having diarrhea for the past few days,” her supervisor told the media at the time.
In any case, going by what Dr Khor said, she should be proud of the deceased Mdm Ho for helping to “offset the low birth rates” in Singapore by working continuously till her last breath.