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Working Beyond Retirement

A Sad Reality for Some Elders


In Singapore, elderly adults aged 65 years and above formed 15.5% of the country’s total population - ranking among the most rapidly aging communities in Asia other than Japan.


The poverty rate has been rising among the working elderly and some seniors feel the need to work for long hours and low pay, despite the health condition that they are in.


As our country ages, the number of older adults who are working in their silver years is growing too, especially among the lower-income group for whom retirement is not a plausible option for them. This is because they need to keep working to sustain their own livelihood, even in their old age.


In recent years, we see more and more of our elderlies working as cleaners, servers, security guards, tissue sellers and scrap collectors.

"In labour markets where older workers are likely to end up in low-paying and undesirable jobs, work may decrease their quality of life without raising their standard of living,” Assistant Professor Ng Kok Hoe, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

In 2019, one in four seniors were still working. The employment rate for adults aged 65 and above increased from 13.8% in 2006 to 26.8% in 2018.

An ageing population comes with it a unique set of challenges - it puts immense pressure on the society as a shrinking workforce struggles to support an ageing population, as well as increases the costs for healthcare and social services.

Previously, the retirement age in Singapore has been fixed at 62 for the past two decades, after which employers are legally obliged to offer re-employment to eligible Singaporean employees up to the national re-employment age. After 2017, the re-employment age was raised from 65 to 67. More and more seniors are thus working beyond their retirement age, beyond the suitable age that elders should be working.

While some seniors might be working to stay active, there are those who are working to survive. Even at their age, they are facing unfortunate circumstances and are working hard to get by.


A number of seniors that we from Global Ehsan Relief have met are facing this current issue. A few of them are well beyond the working age, some in their 70s, but are forced to work to supplement income for their daily necessities. For these seniors, it is not an easy decision, coupled with the various illnesses and disabilities that they face, but they have no choice but to go out to find work.

Help us elevate the living standards of our elders and provide them with a comfortable life in their silver age. As much as we do not want to see our elders painstakingly working in their old age, we also have to work together to ensure that they do not have to do so. Donate today to our Care for the Elderly project to contribute to a more comfortable life for these elderly.

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