• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Enhancing well being outcomes and wellbeing of older adults


May 27, 2023

The contribution of group members on a analysis project can get taken for granted, with storied senior leaders gaining most of the interest.

A current exception is Micah Tan, an associate researcher at the Centre for Analysis on Prosperous Ageing (ROSA) at Singapore Management University (SMU). For his collaborative operate at ROSA, Tan was recognized with an inaugural 2022 Analysis Employees Excellence Award.

Winning the award has provided me a powerful sense of fulfilment and has inspired me to want to do much more, each for the SMU neighborhood but also much more normally in terms of contributing to the well being and wellbeing of older adults.”

Micah Tan, Associate Researcher, Centre for Analysis on Prosperous Ageing (ROSA), Singapore Management University

Tan was drawn to a analysis profession via his interest in folks.

“From a young age I loved to interact with folks and to understand much more about unique cultures, and I identified that conducting social science analysis was an best way for me to place this interest to excellent use,” he says.

Tan’s operate has concentrated on older adults, which could appear surprising for a comparatively young academic.

“Substantially of my motivation for wanting to conduct analysis connected to older adults comes from my personal private experiences,” he says. “Expanding up, I watched my personal parents go via the transition from operating complete-time to retirement and it created me assume about what that transition meant and what life must be like in retirement.

“Also, Singapore is facing a swiftly ageing population and it is becoming increasingly critical for us to address social difficulties emerging from this demographic trend.”

Constant messaging

A paper co-authored by Tan, which caught the eye of the Awards panel, was written in the course of the early days of the COVID pandemic and identified that a essential attitudinal barrier top to vaccine hesitancy amongst older residents was trust, or lack of it, in the government’s messaging.

“1 factor to clarify is that our analysis identified that a massive majority of Singaporeans did nonetheless have higher trust in the government all through the pandemic. Nevertheless, for the handful of that did not, I assume a single essential element that might have led to this was the rise in alternate narratives in the media,” Tan says.

“[Government] messaging can at instances be drowned out by the immense flood of other perspectives and narratives a single can quickly locate on social media and on the world wide web. When you are faced with so lots of unique narratives and you do not have a powerful level of trust current in much more dependable sources, you can quickly get lost.

“1 essential element that has been identified by researchers to shape the levels of trust that folks hold is consistency in messaging.”

Holistic measures

ROSA’s title begs the query of how to define ‘ageing successfully’.

“I assume an critical dimension of aging effectively includes remaining properly-integrated inside your neighborhood even in later life,” Tan says. “This does not just consist of maintaining in touch with mates and loved ones, but must also consist of becoming in a position to contribute meaningfully to your neighborhood in some way.

“I assume that we all want to really feel we are element of a thing bigger than ourselves [and] we want to really feel valued by our communities. If we can assistance much more older adults locate meaningful techniques to participate in their communities, I assume we will go a extended way in assisting much more folks age effectively.”

In a ROSA short co-authored by Tan, wellbeing amongst older adults characteristics as a desirable outcome. How can such a broad, even amorphous term as wellbeing be quantified as a analysis subject?

“This is a fantastic query but is a single that regrettably does not have a excellent answer (however),” Tan says. “ROSA’s key aim is to create a holistic measure of wellbeing for older adults that can be operationalised and utilized in Singapore as, at present, no such measure exists.

“At ROSA, we spend interest to 4 key dimensions of wellbeing – financial, psychological, social and mental – and we are striving to build a holistic measure of wellbeing that can span all 4 dimensions.”

The identical short highlights financial expectations as an indicator of older adult wellbeing in the course of a financially difficult period.

“Analysis has identified that folks are usually conscious of their personal monetary circumstances and are much more in a position to estimate how considerably they will be impacted by a unique monetary challenge, relative to crude estimates at the population level.

“Becoming negatively impacted by a monetary challenge will surely have damaging impacts on other elements of wellbeing, such as experiencing poorer mental well being due to the anxiety of not getting adequate.”

Overall health outcomes

Increasing expense of living pressures is a worldwide concern. The most recent in a series of ROSA briefs focuses on its influence on older Singaporeans.

“We have identified that healthcare is a essential concern for older adults, and for excellent purpose. We interviewed our respondents to attempt to get an thought of why this was so, and lots of of our respondents saw a damaging well being shock as a single of the handful of life events that could potentially wipe out all of their savings for retirement,” Tan says.

“This is due to the immense fees that could be incurred if a single have been to be diagnosed with, for instance, cancer. Fees for treating such a situation can be intense even with well being insurance coverage, and could financially cripple somebody even if they had attempted their finest to prepare for such a situation.

“For this purpose, lots of older adults that we have spoken to have pointed out how they are most afraid of such an occasion taking place, and usually cite healthcare as a essential monetary concern.”

In its summary, the short recommends targeted assistance for these experiencing much more serious monetary issues, such as older adults with low socioeconomic status, as properly as these who are unemployed, laid off, or on sick leave. Monetary assistance requires to concentrate on offering for necessities – utilities, groceries and healthcare requires – as respondents have been most concerned about the affordability of such things. And the government requires productive communication of its mitigation measures.

Tan proposes that his subsequent project will also be concerned with well being difficulties.

“I am becoming much more interested in researching life course elements that shape well being outcomes amongst older adults. Especially, seeking at how circumstances in early life can shape well being in later life,” he says.

“Research have shown that exposure to stressful environments in early life can have lasting and permanent effects on your physiology that make you much more vulnerable to specific well being circumstances in later life.”


Singapore Management University