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Life Expectancy in Singapore—Do the Increase In Residential Care Facilities Affect it?

It is with no question that none of us can live forever. From the day we are born, we live our life primarily up to the day we pass on. That’s life. But just because we know that’s everybody’s fate doesn’t mean we can’t value every morning that we wake up to. This is why our parents tell us to be careful all the time or why our doctors assess us medically or why fitness coaches give advice on how to live more healthily. Our lifestyle, which includes the activities that we do and the food that we eat, leaves a huge impact on the longevity of our existence.   Whenever people age, they become more frail or sickly. They can no longer do the things they used to when they were younger. They start to become warier of what they eat. They start to feel things in their body that weren’t there before. This is why seniors retire and think about the “next chapter” of their lives; it’s because they know that any day could be their last. But the question is, is there any way for us to extend our life or ensure that we won’t be dying any sooner than we intend to?  In this article, we will be discussing life expectancy in Singapore and how the increase in residential care facilities affects it.   

What are residential care facilities? 

Residential care facilities were developed to provide long-term care to adults or children who still want to reside in a home-like setting. Here, there are many types of care options depending on the needs of the residents. If you have disabilities, mental or physical illnesses, or frail and weak due to old age, you can be accommodated in this place.  Living in residential care facilities is a good option if for example the person in question can no longer be cared for by home by their family members. They have full access to meals, medications, transportation, and other daily living necessities. They can also engage in social and recreational activities where they can mingle and build friendships with their peers.  Unlike nursing homes, residential care focuses more on allowing its residents to live independently but still providing their needs or assisting them. 24/7 supervision is not necessary but the safety and security of the residents are guaranteed. Nursing homes have a more clinical setting and are more fit for residents who are sick or incapable of looking after themselves.   

Discussing life expectancy and HALE

Life expectancy refers to the statistically measured number of years a person is expected to live. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, life expectancy at birth increased from 83.2 years in 2010 to 84.8 years as of 2017. Although the gap between the numbers might seem small, it is indeed a significant improvement. Globally, Singapore is the country with the highest life expectancy in 2019.  On the other hand, the Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) pertains to an average number of years a person is expected to live in full health, taking into account the years lived in less than full health due to illnesses or injuries. In Singapore, the HALE increased from 72.9 years to 74.2 years which is another huge improvement. The measures and programs that Singapore established to better the lives of its countrymen certainly helped extend the years lived by its people over the recent few years.  Furthermore, it has been deduced that the mortality rates due to health-related problems like cancer, heart diseases, and stroke have been reduced by 16%. This again proves that Singaporeans are living longer and healthier lives compared to before. But despite those notable developments, the objective has not been reached fully yet. According to the Ministry of Health Singapore, people living with chronic illness increased in number. People aged 18 to 69 with hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia increased by 14%, 4%, and 33% respectively. Chronic illnesses can lead to more complicated health issues which can negatively affect an individual’s quality of life. Due to this, Singapore is still taking huge steps in preventing the numbers from going up.    

Why are resident care facilities important to Singapore’s life expectancy and HALE?

In Singapore, many measures have been taken to promote good health and active aging. It’s been brought to light that maintaining a good lifestyle increases the possibility of living longer. This includes encouraging people to engage in exercise and other physical activities, consuming healthy food, and also nurturing their mental health. As people age, they become more prone to diseases which also lead to deterioration of their mental stability. This is why various programs and campaigns have been created for the sake of resolving the aforementioned issues.  One of the things that have been done to improve life expectancy is the increase of residential care facilities. Since 2011, Singapore has doubled the home and community care capacity through the Community Networks for Seniors. But what exactly does this do for life expectancy?  Residential care facilities are more than just “caregiving” homes. It’s a built community that has the purpose of nurturing and enriching the lives of people, specifically the seniors and also the children. It gives them a place where they can directly get the care and support that they need to preserve their overall well-being and live a longer life.  Here are the features of residential care facilities:

    • Person-centric - residential care facilities maintain a person-centric atmosphere wherein they put the needs and wants of the residents first. The caregiving staff is trained to handle the residents with utmost care and compassion, communicating to them gently and constantly checking on them. The attention is fixated on the seniors and they always ensure that their stay makes them feel happy and comfortable. Neglect is not an option. 
    • Community integration - seniors tend to feel alone or alienated when they begin to age. It’s also not easy to be living in a place where strangers will be taking care of them instead of family members. Fortunately, residential care facilities are built with the intent of making residents feel like they are in one community. They get to progress and live harmoniously together in one place. They also get to interact and build relationships with the staff and their fellow residents. Having a sense of belongingness will also strengthen their morale and self-esteem. 
    • Ability to adapt to changing needs - as previously mentioned, residential care facility staff is trained on handling the needs of residents, no matter how complicated they are. They’re capable of adapting to the changing needs of the residents. 
    • Safe and secure - although the senior residents are free to do what they want within the residential care homes, the staff is still supervising them constantly. The facilities were also built with safety features to ensure that the residents won’t get lost or risk hurting themselves. 
    • Assistance with daily living activities - one of the main highlights of residential care facilities is providing the daily essentials of every resident. Here, the caregiving staff assists seniors in their meals, hygiene, and medication management. This will ensure that they are not forgetting any of the important things in life, most especially their food and medication intake. 

 

Can a residential care facility really help extend a person’s life expectancy? 

According to research that was conducted, people who experience a disease or injury that requires long-term care usually lead to a dramatic decrease in life expectancy. This is why there are cases of patients in nursing homes that live shorter. However, when people live an independent and active lifestyle, they are more prone to live longer.  In residential care facilities, residents are not treated like patients. In fact, people who move into these communities still get to live independently just with minimal supervision and assistance. They still get to move around and have hobbies and engage in activities. Furthermore, residential care encourages its residents to live an active and healthy lifestyle. It also motivates seniors when they get to progress along with other people like them.  Can residential care facilities help lead the way towards an even bigger improvement in life expectancy in Singapore? We’ll soon find out.  If you are considering moving into quality and reliable residential care facility, try Red Crowns Senior Living. They provide top-notch accommodation and commendable services for seniors especially when it comes to their activities of daily living Singapore (ADLs). You can check their website or call their hotline for more details.   

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