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New Study to Help Take On Aging Population Challenges in Singapore

A new nationwide study has been set in motion to explore the health, social, and mental well-being of the nation’s senior citizens to provide valuable insights for new policies and programs designed for Singapore’s aging population. The study is the third wave of THE SIGNS Study.

In this Pacific Prime Singapore article, learn more about THE SIGNS Study and ways you can give yourself or your elders extra assurance with senior citizen health insurance.

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What is THE SIGNS Study

The Transitions in Health, Employment, Social Engagement, and Inter-Generational Transfers in Singapore Study or THE SIGNS Study is a longitudinal study funded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and conducted by the “Centre of Ageing Research and Education” (CARE) at Duke-NUS Medical School.

The first wave of the study was conducted in 2016-2017 and the second study was conducted in 2019. Over 4,500 elderly participated in the first wave and a majority of them were re-interviewed for the second wave.


In the self-rated health section, researchers asked participants to describe their state of health, “In general, would you describe your state of health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor?”. As high levels of personal mastery have been reported to be associated with resilience outcomes, such as pain management and self-rated health. Several studies also suggest that high personal mastery may even protect individuals from depression.

When looking at the results of the second wave, researchers found that participants who gave themselves a higher score on the self-rated health section. Interestingly, there were signs that showed participants who rated their health as “fair” or “good” in both waves showed better health results during the second wave!

From the data collected, the number of participants who selected excellent or very good (vs. good or fair or poor) in the self-rated health section increased from 16% in the first wave to 27% in the second. 

Incidentally, despite a 2% increase in older adults who live alone, there was a 3% decrease in the proportion of older adults who express some level of loneliness.

The study showed no changes in the extent of depressive symptoms but there was a “significant decrease” in personal mastery and increase in quality of life amongst older Singaporeans prompting the need to “gauge various facets of psychological health”.

New Wave

In the third wave of THE SIGNS study, researchers aim to interview 10,000 people aged 60 or above. The collected data will be used to formulate, develop, and refine policies as well as aid in the planning of services for the nation’s elderly according to the2023 Action Plan for Successful Ageing. The study will also shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on Singapore’s older citizens.

Singapore’s Aging Population

Like many other nations in the world, Singapore is facing an aging population challenge. During his speech at the book launch of ‘Singapore Aging: Issues and Challenges Ahead” in April 2023, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated that the “population is not just aging, but aging rapidly.

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In 2010, around 1 in 10 Singaporeans were aged 65 or above. After a decade (2020), the number had increased to 1 in 6. In 2030, approximately 1 in 4 Singaporeans will be over 65. According to the National Population and Talent Division, the number of citizens aged 80 or above in 2022 has increased more than 70% from 2012.

How You Can Further Protect Yourself or Your Elders Right Now

In addition to the existing government programmes designed to support senior citizens like the Silver Support Scheme (SS) and the GST Vouchers (GSTV), you can further protect yourself or your elders by getting senior citizen health insurance.

Things to Consider When Getting Senior Citizen Health Insurance

1. The Age Limit of the Plan

Some insurance policies have a maximum age limit. This means that the policyholder will not be able to renew their policy once they have surpassed the age limit.

2. Pre-existing Conditions and Chronic Conditions

Pre-existing Conditions and Chronic Conditions are among the most common health insurance exclusions. Whilst some plans may not cover pre-existing and chronic conditions, other plans may cover them with a lifetime or annual limit on claims.

However, plans that do cover them are more likely to have higher premiums than plans that don’t. Take note of how your insurer will treat your pre-existing/chronic conditions, whether they will be covered and to what extent.

3. Premium Inflation Rates

Many insurance policies have inflation rates on their premiums. Before you fully commit to the plan, make sure you consider the annual premiums after the inflation rate to ensure that you can afford to stay covered!

According to our Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2023, Singapore’s average cost of international health insurance has increased in 2022 in comparison with 2021 and the country is amongst the top 5 countries based on average premium cost! Download our free report today for more valuable insights on the costs of premium and key drivers behind them.

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Contact Pacific Prime Singapore Today

To learn more about senior citizen health insurance, check out our Senior Citizen Health Insurance page. With over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, our professional team of advisors are happy to help you find the right plan so you can get the coverage you need while staying within your budget.

Contact us today for a free quote and professional advice!

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Vista is a content creator at Pacific Prime. With over 8 years of writing experience for online platforms on various topics such as luxury lifestyle and digital entertainment. He enjoys diving into complex and otherwise confusing topics, and creating easy-to-understand content for the readers to help them navigate through the topic - something that’s perfectly aligned with Pacific Prime’s motto of ‘simplifying insurance’.

Born and raised in the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong, and having studied at an international school, Vista has developed a multicultural perspective that he uses in his writing and strives to connect to people of different backgrounds.

In his free time, Vista enjoys immersing himself in different worlds, from video games to light novels and movies. His hobbies help him expand his writing style by putting himself in the point-of-view of different people and characters.
Vista Nip