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Staying healthy over 65

Changi General Hospital (CGH) held its very own HEALTHFest, where the hospital set a new world record, and seniors gained vital insights on staying healthy in their golden years.

The participants tried out seated exercises suitable for seniors during the Health Awareness Lesson.

In delivering trusted care for the community, the CGH 88th Anniversary HEALTHFest was held on 6 January 2024 to empower seniors to take active steps towards better health.

469 seniors joined in the ‘Largest Senior Citizen’s Health Awareness Lesson’ by CGH, setting the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDSTM title for the Caring General Hospital. Helmed by Dr Alexis Ang, Senior Consultant, Department of Geriatric Medicine, CGH, the lesson saw seniors aged 65 and above getting on their feet and learning about the importance of healthy lifestyle and dietary choices as well as maintaining social connections.

By 2030, a quarter of Singapore residents will be aged 65 years and above. Common fears of ageing include losing independence, deteriorating health and loneliness. “These happen to be the effects of frailty,” says Dr Ang. “Frailty involves a gradual decline and reduction of our body functions, which increases our vulnerability to stressors and in turn can lead to a poorer quality of life.”

Mr Kazuyoshi Kirimura, GUINNESS WORLD RECORDSTM Adjudicator, officially presents CGH with a certificate after announcing CGH as the new world record holder for the Largest Senior Citizen’s Health Awareness Lesson.

Above: (From second from left) Prof Ng Wai Hoe, Chief Executive Officer, CGH; Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law; Mr Cheng Wai Keung, Chairman, SingHealth; and A/Prof Ng Kee Chong, Chief Executive Officer (Designate), CGH, participate in a shoulder flexion exercise together with the seniors.

Frailty can result from the weakening of multiple body system functions, low physical activity, malnutrition and social isolation. Seniors who are frail are more prone to increased risks of falls, dementia and delirium, face a higher risk of functional decline after illness or injury, and are more vulnerable to adverse health-related outcomes. Age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and the loss of muscle strength, also known as sarcopenia, is also a risk factor that can lead to frailty. “Frailty can be prevented, reversed or delayed in the early stages and managed in the later stages,” says Dr Ang.


As we move towards a healthier nation, here are some healthy choices seniors can make towards staying well and lengthening their health span.

Key determinants for ageing well

Make healthy lifestyle choices

  • Stop smoking. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of various cancers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Moderate your alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure and liver diseases.
  • Practise safe daily behaviours. Wear protective helmets during higher-risk activities such as cycling, apply good sun protection when outdoors to reduce the risk of skin cancer, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from cataracts, and wear ear plugs to protect your ears from excessive noise that can induce hearing loss.
  • Have seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can cause poor coordination and judgement, which can result in injuries and falls.


Ageing brings about a change in nutritional requirements — there is a decreased need for calories, but an increased need for certain macro-nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates or fats, and micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals. While age-related factors — such as poorer digestion, lower levels of sensory perception (taste, smell and sight), dental issues and swallowing problems — can affect the amount and type of food a senior consumes, it is important to have a healthy diet.

A healthy diet

  • Provides you with the nutrients required for energy and mobility
  • Reduces the risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke
  • Reduces the risk of malnutrition and sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength)
  • Helps you achieve or maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI)
  • Helps with your mental health


Physical activities

Growing old is often accompanied with increased inactivity, but physical activities can help to improve endurance, strength and flexibility, maintaining our ability to walk and be independent. It can also improve our overall mood and even increase life expectancy. Exercise also helps to reduce the risk of developing anxiety, depression and dementia.

150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity is recommended per week. One simple way to tell if an activity is of moderate intensity is the “talk test” — when you can still speak but are unable to sing while performing the activity. If you are unable to talk at all, it is considered a high-intensity exercise. While many seniors might be afraid to start exercising due to fears of falling, a lack of self-belief, or social or environmental circumstances, you can start with simple activities such as brisk walking or gardening. Over time, build the activity into a daily routine.

Social connections

Certain behaviours can be adopted based on your circle of friends and family — for example, the tendency to exercise, smoke or consume alcohol. Studies also found that the larger your social circle, the more likely you are to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Having social ties such as a partner, family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, clubs or religious groups can help improve your mental health and psychological well-being. These relationships help foster a sense of self-worth and purpose, which can help decrease the risk of mortality.

Social relationships can also help improve your immune system. A lower number of social contacts results in higher levels of stress hormones. Loneliness can also increase stress levels and impact the immune system adversely.


Staying healthy over 65