What Singapore’s plan for an aging population can teach the United States

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By Tara Bahrampour, reporter, Washington Post |

Singapore, one of the world’s fastest-aging countries, has announced a massive, multipronged plan to help its citizens age successfully — one that advocates say leaves the United States in the dust.

The $2.1 billion plan announced by the Ministry of Health, “A Nation for All Ages,” comprises initiatives on topics such as health and wellness, education, volunteerism, housing, transportation and social inclusion. A new “National Silver Academy” will offer post-secondary education to older people, and up to $142 million will go toward innovations in research to transform the experience of aging. The initiative also includes housing (with) elder-care and child-care centers in the same facilities to promote intergenerational bonding and piloting therapeutic gardens for dementia and stroke patients.

Singapore, an island city-state of 5.5 million, is one of the fastest aging populations in the world, with the number of residents aged 65 and over projected to hit 19 percent in 2030, up from 9.3 percent in 2011. Its plan is striking in that it focuses heavily on empowerment rather than just tending to the frail.

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