• Vol. 43 No. 1, 51–56
  • 15 January 2014

Projecting the Number of Older Singaporeans with Activity of Daily Living Limitations Requiring Human Assistance Through 2030

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: In the context of rapid population ageing and the increase in number of activity of daily living (ADL) limitations with age, the number of older persons requiring human assistance in Singapore is likely to grow. To promote informed planning for the needs of these elderly, we project the number of resident Singaporeans 60 years of age and older with 1 or more ADL limitations requiring human assistance through 2030.

Materials and Methods: The proportion of community-dwelling older adults with ADL limitations requiring human assistance, stratified by gender and age group, was calculated utilising a recent nationally-representative survey of older Singaporeans. The proportion of older adults in nursing homes with ADL limitations was estimated based on available literature. Together, these prevalence estimates were applied to a simulation of the future population of older adults in Singapore to derive an estimate of the number of individuals with ADL limitations requiring human assistance through 2030.

Results: By 2030, the number of resident Singaporeans aged 60 years or older with 1 or more ADL limitations requiring human assistance is projected to be 82,968 persons (7% of the total population aged 60 years or older). Of this number, 38,809 (47%) are estimated to have 1 or 2 ADL limitations, and 44,159 (53%) are estimated to have 3 or more.

Conclusion: The number of elderly Singaporeans with activity limitations is expected grow rapidly from 31,738 in 2010 to 82,968 in 2030. Estimates of the number of older individuals with ADL limitations requiring human assistance are of value for policymakers as well as acute and long-term care capacity planners as they seek to meet demand for health and social services in Singapore.


Similar to other developed countries in Asia, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the population of Singapore is ageing rapidly. In 2011, 9.3% of the population was 65 years of age or older. Due in part to decades of sub-replacement level fertility rates and increases in longevity, by 2030 this proportion is expected to increase to 19%. Given the tendency of individuals to accumulate health problems and activity of daily living (ADL) limitations as they age, an important consequence of this demographic shift will likely be a significant increase in demand for acute and long-term care services.

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