Growing old in Singapore can be pitiful

This is esp so with the high inflation from 2007-2013 as Singapore brought in loads of millions and billionaires and middle income foreign “talents”. The retirees’ reserves have been eroded drastically in terms of real purchasing power with the escalating prices of everything.

Costs of growing old in S’pore daunting
Chang May Lian

Source: Todayonline 31 Jul 2013

Do our senior citizens work because they want to or because they have to? Those who have enough savings for retirement choose to retire, or work for leisure. Those who live from hand-to-mouth continue to work because there are bills to be paid and mouths to feed.

I fall into the latter group – I am from the working middle class, I started my family late, I have elderly parents to support and a 30-year Housing and Development Board loan to pay.

I worry about my children and their future. I worry about my health and the rising medical costs and whether my income can keep up.

My employability has a shelf life of another 10 years at best. When I get older, can I still find a job, with the increasing automation of labour and cheaper foreign labour? By one’s 50th birthday, if you lose your job, it will be hard to find a job of equal pay.

Yes, I will grow old here as I have no other home, but what does growing old in Singapore mean for me? Can I enjoy quality of life? It remains to be seen.

Encourage seniors to share, be productive
Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

I refer to this week’s VoicesToday topic “Is Singapore a place to grow old in?”.

While some senior citizens enjoy the mental and social stimulation of working, there are others who have to work because of economic reasons.

Alas, seniors face age discrimination during the latter part of their work lives, and it is difficult for them to maintain self-esteem, especially when they are made to feel useless and stagnant.

In our youth-orientated society, the old are stereotyped as a “burden”, and society has declared older people obsolete at a defined deadline. It has been suggested that the younger generation pay higher MediShield premiums, but I do not think they are prepared to do so.

Singapore can be a great place to grow old in if only seniors can continue being productive and they should be encouraged to share their knowledge, experience and skills.