• Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

Enhancing overall health outcomes and wellbeing of older adults


May 26, 2023

The contribution of group members on a investigation 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 Investigation on Productive Ageing (ROSA) at Singapore Management University (SMU). For his collaborative operate at ROSA, Tan was recognized with an inaugural 2022 Investigation Employees Excellence Award.

Winning the award has offered me a sturdy sense of fulfilment and has inspired me to want to do much more, each for the SMU neighborhood but also much more commonly in terms of contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of older adults.”

Micah Tan, Associate Researcher, Centre for Investigation on Productive Ageing (ROSA), Singapore Management University

Tan was drawn to a investigation profession by means of his interest in men and women.

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

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

“A lot of my motivation for wanting to conduct investigation associated to older adults comes from my personal individual experiences,” he says. “Increasing up, I watched my personal parents go by means of the transition from operating complete-time to retirement and it produced me assume about what that transition meant and what life must be like in retirement.

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

Constant messaging

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

“One particular factor to clarify is that our investigation identified that a massive majority of Singaporeans did nonetheless have higher trust in the government all through the pandemic. On the other hand, for the couple of that did not, I assume a single essential aspect that might have led to this was the rise in alternate narratives in the media,” Tan says.

“[Government] messaging can at occasions be drowned out by the immense flood of other perspectives and narratives a single can simply obtain on social media and on the world wide web. When you are faced with so quite a few unique narratives and you do not have a sturdy level of trust current in much more reputable sources, you can simply get lost.

“One particular essential aspect that has been identified by researchers to shape the levels of trust that men and women 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 entails 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 aspect of a thing bigger than ourselves [and] we want to really feel valued by our communities. If we can support much more older adults obtain meaningful strategies to participate in their communities, I assume we will go a lengthy way in assisting much more men and women age effectively.”

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

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

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

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

“Investigation has identified that men and women are normally conscious of their personal economic circumstances and are much more in a position to estimate how substantially they will be impacted by a certain economic challenge, relative to crude estimates at the population level.

“Becoming negatively impacted by a economic challenge will definitely have unfavorable impacts on other elements of wellbeing, such as experiencing poorer mental overall health due to the pressure of not possessing adequate.”

Well being outcomes

Increasing expense of living pressures is a worldwide situation. 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 fantastic explanation. We interviewed our respondents to attempt to get an notion of why this was so, and quite a few of our respondents saw a unfavorable overall health shock as a single of the couple of life events that could potentially wipe out all of their savings for retirement,” Tan says.

“This is due to the immense charges that could be incurred if a single had been to be diagnosed with, for instance, cancer. Expenses for treating such a situation can be intense even with overall health insurance coverage, and could financially cripple a person even if they had attempted their greatest to prepare for such a situation.

“For this explanation, quite a few older adults that we have spoken to have pointed out how they are most afraid of such an occasion taking place, and normally cite healthcare as a essential economic concern.”

In its summary, the short recommends targeted assistance for these experiencing much more extreme economic troubles, such as older adults with low socioeconomic status, as properly as these who are unemployed, laid off, or on sick leave. Economic assistance requirements to concentrate on offering for necessities – utilities, groceries and healthcare requirements – as respondents had been most concerned about the affordability of such products. And the government requirements productive communication of its mitigation measures.

Tan proposes that his subsequent project will also be concerned with overall health concerns.

“I am becoming much more interested in researching life course aspects that shape overall health outcomes amongst older adults. Particularly, hunting at how situations in early life can shape overall health 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 particular overall health situations in later life.”


Singapore Management University

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