June 2, 2023 2:36 pm

The contribution of group members on a analysis 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 powerful sense of fulfilment and has inspired me to want to do far more, each for the SMU neighborhood but also far more commonly 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 analysis profession by means of his interest in individuals.

“From a young age I loved to interact with individuals and to understand far more about diverse cultures, and I identified that conducting social science analysis was an perfect 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 analysis associated to older adults comes from my personal private experiences,” he says. “Expanding up, I watched my personal parents go by means of the transition from operating complete-time to retirement and it created me believe about what that transition meant and what life should really be like in retirement.

“Also, Singapore is facing a quickly ageing population and it is becoming increasingly essential for us to address social problems 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 important attitudinal barrier major to vaccine hesitancy amongst older residents was trust, or lack of it, in the government’s messaging.

“A single issue to clarify is that our analysis identified that a massive majority of Singaporeans did nevertheless have higher trust in the government all through the pandemic. On the other hand, for the couple of that did not, I believe 1 important aspect that could 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 quickly locate on social media and on the world wide web. When you are faced with so lots of diverse narratives and you do not have a powerful level of trust current in far more reputable sources, you can quickly get lost.

“A single important aspect that has been identified by researchers to shape the levels of trust that individuals hold is consistency in messaging.”

Holistic measures

ROSA’s title begs the query of how to define ‘ageing successfully’.

“I believe an essential dimension of aging effectively includes remaining properly-integrated inside your neighborhood even in later life,” Tan says. “This does not just consist of maintaining in touch with good friends and loved ones, but should really also consist of becoming in a position to contribute meaningfully to your neighborhood in some way.

“I believe that we all want to really feel we are component of one thing bigger than ourselves [and] we want to really feel valued by our communities. If we can aid far more older adults locate meaningful techniques to participate in their communities, I believe we will go a extended way in assisting far more individuals age effectively.”

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

“This is a good query but is 1 that however 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 applied 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 produce a holistic measure of wellbeing that can span all 4 dimensions.”

The identical short highlights financial expectations as an indicator of older adult wellbeing for the duration of a financially difficult period.

“Investigation has identified that individuals are frequently conscious of their personal monetary conditions and are far more in a position to estimate how substantially they will be impacted by a specific monetary challenge, relative to crude estimates at the population level.

“Getting negatively impacted by a monetary challenge will definitely have damaging impacts on other elements of wellbeing, such as experiencing poorer mental well being due to the anxiety of not possessing adequate.”

Overall health outcomes

Increasing price of living pressures is a worldwide challenge. The most recent in a series of ROSA briefs focuses on its influence on older Singaporeans.

“We have identified that healthcare is a important 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 lots of of our respondents saw a damaging well being shock as 1 of the couple 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 an individual even if they had attempted their very best to prepare for such a situation.

“For this purpose, lots of older adults that we have spoken to have described how they are most afraid of such an occasion taking place, and frequently cite healthcare as a important monetary concern.”

In its summary, the short recommends targeted assistance for these experiencing far more extreme monetary issues, such as older adults with low socioeconomic status, as properly as these who are unemployed, laid off, or on sick leave. Economic assistance requires to concentrate on offering for necessities – utilities, groceries and healthcare requires – as respondents have been most concerned about the affordability of such things. And the government requires successful communication of its mitigation measures.

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

“I am becoming far more interested in researching life course elements that shape well being outcomes amongst older adults. Particularly, hunting at how situations 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 far more vulnerable to specific well being situations in later life.”


Singapore Management University