'Silver economy, not tsunami'
Instead of fearing the silver tsunami, think about capitalising on the silver economy.
Addressing the Ageing Asia Investment Forum yesterday, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing called for an optimistic view of the challenges faced by ageing populations.
"Many people have used the words 'silver tsunami' as if this is a disaster that's going to happen," he said. "An ageing population is not a crisis, if we prepare well...
"Whoever masters the circumstances well will conquer the market."
Instead of counting on the Government to provide the social services needed by an ageing population, Singapore should also "leverage on the strengths of the private and people sectors", he added. The people sector includes volunteers, charities and non-profit organisations.
While the Government is good at providing basic services, private companies can be more innovative, while the people sector can "mobilise local resources... to develop local solutions best suited for the community", he said.
The forum was organised by Singapore-based consultancy Ageing Asia, which has ranked 15 Asia Pacific countries by the market potential of its ageing baby boomers. Heading the index is Hong Kong, followed by Australia and Singapore.
Managing director Janice Chia said baby boomers here are better educated, more affluent and well travelled compared to the earlier generation.
"Their expectations for a better quality of life will drive them to demand products and services that will help them to age with dignity, independently and healthily," she said.
Publicly available figures were used to derive factors such as per capita household savings and life expectancy to create the index, published in Ageing Asia's second edition of the Asia Pacific Silver Economy Business Opportunities Report.
The annual forum, now in its fourth year, ends today. More than 300 business, government and community leaders from 17 nations are taking part.