Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

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

A current exception is Micah Tan, an associate researcher at the Centre for Investigation on Thriving Ageing (ROSA) at Singapore Management University (SMU). For his collaborative function 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 a lot more, each for the SMU neighborhood but also a lot more normally in terms of contributing to the well being and wellbeing of older adults.”

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

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

“From a young age I loved to interact with folks and to understand a lot more about diverse cultures, and I located that conducting social science study was an best way for me to place this interest to very good use,” he says.

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

“Significantly of my motivation for wanting to conduct study associated to older adults comes from my personal individual experiences,” he says. “Developing up, I watched my personal parents go via the transition from functioning 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 vital for us to address social challenges 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.

“1 factor to clarify is that our study located that a significant majority of Singaporeans did nevertheless have higher trust in the government all through the pandemic. Having said that, for the handful of that did not, I assume 1 essential issue that may possibly 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 1 can conveniently obtain on social media and on the web. When you are faced with so several diverse narratives and you never have a sturdy level of trust current in a lot more dependable sources, you can conveniently get lost.

“1 essential issue 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 vital dimension of aging effectively requires remaining nicely-integrated inside your neighborhood even in later life,” Tan says. “This does not just consist of maintaining in touch with pals and loved ones, but must also consist of getting in a position to contribute meaningfully to your neighborhood in some way.

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

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

“This is a wonderful query but is 1 that sadly does not have a very good answer (however),” Tan says. “ROSA’s major 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 focus to 4 major 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 similar short highlights financial expectations as an indicator of older adult wellbeing for the duration of a financially difficult period.

“Investigation has located that folks are normally conscious of their personal economic conditions and are a lot more in a position to estimate how significantly they will be impacted by a specific economic challenge, relative to crude estimates at the population level.

“Getting negatively impacted by a economic challenge will absolutely have unfavorable 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 challenge. The newest in a series of ROSA briefs focuses on its influence on older Singaporeans.

“We have located that healthcare is a essential concern for older adults, and for very good purpose. We interviewed our respondents to attempt to get an notion of why this was so, and several of our respondents saw a unfavorable well being shock as 1 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 expenses that could be incurred if 1 have been to be diagnosed with, for instance, cancer. Expenses for treating such a situation can be intense even with well being insurance coverage, and could financially cripple a person even if they had attempted their finest to prepare for such a situation.

“For this purpose, several 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 a lot more serious economic issues, such as older adults with low socioeconomic status, as nicely as these who are unemployed, laid off, or on sick leave. Economic assistance demands to concentrate on giving for necessities – utilities, groceries and healthcare demands – as respondents have been most concerned about the affordability of such products. And the government demands productive communication of its mitigation measures.

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

“I am becoming a lot more interested in researching life course components 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 a lot more vulnerable to particular well being circumstances in later life.”


Singapore Management University

By Editor

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