Singapore's first association to promote healthy aging was launched on 14th June 2002 by a group of doctors and business professionals. Aptly named the Healthy Aging Association (HAA!), this is the first association in Singapore dedicated to educating and promoting awareness of, and to act as a catalyst in the practice of healthy aging.

To this end, HAA! - a non-profit organization - will provide a variety of activities and programmes to heighten the importance of a healthy lifestyle among the older population and to encourage those in their mid-life to start planning and taking action for a new chapter in their lives.

  For the first time, a pool of highly experienced doctors have come together to offer voluntary help in the form of medical advice and education. In addition, they will collaborate with a group of non-medical people to work toward understanding and meeting the diverse needs of today's modern older generation.
  The acronym 'HAA!' is both an assertive expression of the vitality of life and a defiant shout against the ravages of time. We cannot help getting old, but we can all continue to live meaningful lives if we can maintain our health and well-being.

HAA! is the only association in Singapore which focuses on the golden age group, 50s to late 80's. Health checks will be specially customized for those in this age group, without wasting time and money on unnecessary or irrelevant checks which are more suited for younger people. Health and nutrition talks will also be skewed towards their needs.

Regardless of age, one's mind and body can be as young and 'evergreen' as they wish it to be, provided one prepares for it. Aging brings with it hormonal changes, concurrent diseases, depression and marital friction which accelerate aging and affect one's sense of well-being. In the worst case, it renders one a burden not only to oneself but also to one's family and society. Once fit and active people have been seen to be reduced to a shadow of their former selves, retreating into a shell as they advance in years. HAA! aims to offer these people options to get back into shape, both physically and mentally.

We want to encourage the older population to do more challenging and meaningful things, thereby giving them a new purpose in life and to live healthily and independently, thus reducing their reliance on their children, relatives and the State. It is also about people establishing a social network, having fun, engaging in activities that interest them.

With more than 2.1 million Singaporeans now over the age of 45, and an expanding grey population, it is crucial for the public to be educated about aging, to make immediate and informed choices that will impact their mental and physical health. HAA! will promote the concept of healthy aging through a number of avenues including talks and forums & social activities.

Often, when people retire they find their social life and social network wanting, as their busy careers had previously put this part of their lives 'on hold'. Suddenly, there are few challenges, perhaps too much time on their hands and life begins to become unsatisfying. These can negatively impact on mental and physical health.

HAA! will educate people about the importance of the second part of their lives. It will not only be satisfying to themselves, but also positively contributing to society. HAA! also seeks to attract interested and like-minded people to join, either to serve as volunteers or members. As a non-profit organization, HAA! will have to depend on its membership subscriptions and donations from the public.

The Golden Age Group

This group comprises of people between 50s to their late 80s where most people are mentally fit and physically active and are usually at the peak of their respective professions or careers. Because of our social system requiring such people to stop work, or retire, many people in this group find themselves suddenly without a meaningful existence where their achievements, their special skills and networking established over the years, are lost. It is our view that this group of people can be and should be revitalised and even start a second career over the next 20 to 25 years. Here, they can make positive contributions to the family and to the society, not to mention a new sense of purpose and challenge they would enjoy over the remaining years of their lives. To put them away in retirement mode would not only be a waste of their talents in human resource-scarce Singapore, but would inevitably increase the burden to the family and eventually to the society.

  Consequences of Aging Population in Singapore
  Singapore's population is increasing in median age as a result of decreased birth rate and increasing longevity resulting from good medical care and availability of good social amenities. A consequence of aging, which is both psychological and physical, inevitably results in falling hormone levels, concurrent diseases associated with aging like high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. All these changes severely impact on a person's sense of well-being, as well as severely restrict his ability to contribute to his family and society in terms of productivity and general usefulness. If not addressed, a large reservoir of human talent in the age group (from 55 to 80 years old) may become unproductive. In the worst case, they become a burden not only to themselves but to their families and society.
(Source: Report of The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Health Care for The Elderly)
For more information, please contact:
Healthy Aging Association (HAA!) : Telephone (65) 6386-0616

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