In October 2016, United Nations human rights expert, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, observed that while Singapore’s “many new programmes and policies to address challenges faced by older persons will need more time to bear fruit, the reality on the ground indicates that life remains a struggle for many old Singaporeans.” Ms Kornfeld-Matte shared the above in a statement released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for South-East Asia. (Source: www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/life-remains-a-struggle-for-many-old-singaporeans-UN-expert )
In addition, she lauded the Government’s decision to honour and pay tribute to Singapore’s pioneers for their significant contributions to early nation building, and also commended the Government’s efforts and commitment to ensure older people are fully enjoying their human rights.
The good work implemented to benefit the ageing population in Singapore has continued since Kornfeld-Matte’s 2016 visit. There has been a slew of policies focused at helping the elderly maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle; they cover the areas of healthcare and safety, financial independence, social interactions of the elderly, as well as, elderly-friendly physical infrastructure. Annually, the Government Budget continues to set aside resources to support Singaporean families, help the needy, and catalyse community efforts.
However, empirically one is aware that there are many wide-ranging factors whcih affect the subscription, or the take up rate, of our government’s schemes and programmes.
According to a report published by US NCB (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1524856), the Factors Predicting the Use of Technology: Findings From the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE), attitudes and cognitive abilities are very key to technology adoption. The report explained, as an example, that people have to learn new ways of performing familiar tasks (like communicating through e-mails as opposed to using a phone), new procedural knowledge, and a new lexicon… and, as suggested by Beier and Ackerman (2005), it may be that people who have higher levels of crystallized intelligence are more adept at knowledge acquisition.
The relationship between cognitive abilities and technology adoption also points to the importance of ensuring that system interfaces are well designed and easy to use. For example, technology interfaces should place minimal demands on working memory and environmental supports such as cues, and reminders or navigational aids should be provided (see Fisk et al., 2004).”