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Journal article

Gambling among older adults in Singapore. Some preliminary empirical findings

Author:
NG Vincent C.K.
Journal article citation:
Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 21(1), June 2011, pp.18-30.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Gambling is a widely accepted social and recreation activity in Singapore, with surveys suggesting that around 58% of the population have gambled at least once in the last 12 months. The purpose of this study was to shed light on gambling among older adults in Singapore.  A sample of 74 adults aged 60 and above who were participants of a community-based elderly outreach programme was surveyed. The survey included questions relating to gambling participation and the perception of the respondents.  The findings indicated that 27% of the respondents had gambled in the past month and their favourite gambling game was the lottery 4D. Those who gambled were found to have more free time than those who did not (64 hours per week versus 38 hours per week). Almost all the respondents (97%) did not know where to go to get help for problem gambling.  The article concludes that public education campaigns on problem gambling should be re-designed to reach out to older adults.

Journal article

Body mass index, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio and depressive symptoms in Chinese elderly: a population-based study

Authors:
HO Roger C. M., et al
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(4), April 2008, pp.401-408.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Studies that investigated the relationship between obesity and depressive symptoms in the elderly have generated conflicting findings, partly because of the use of body mass index (BMI) alone to measure obesity in the elderly. The use of BMI fails to account for varying proportions of muscle, fat and bone, and few studies have used other measures of central obesity, such as waist-hip ratio (WHR) and waist circumference (WC). This study examined whether individually BMI, WHR and WC were consistently associated with depressive symptoms in the elderly. Analysis of cross-sectional data of 2,604 community dwelling Chinese elderly aged 55 and above, including socio-emotional characteristics, self-rated health and functional status, anthropometric measurements and Geriatric Depression Scale (15 items, GDS-15). There was a negative trend in the prevalence of depressive symptoms (GDS 5) across increasing BMI categories: 16.9% in low BMI, 14.2% in normal weight, 12.1% in moderate to high BMI. The associations for moderate to high BMI relative to normal BMI, were statistically significant after controlling for confounding variables. However, no consistent trends in the prevalence of depressive symptoms and OR's were observed for increasing WHR and WC categories. Results suggest that waist-hip and circumference measures of central obesity did not support an inverse relationship of obesity and depressive symptoms. An inverse relationship of BMI with depressive symptoms may indicate greater physiologic and functional reserve from greater muscle mass that protects against depressive symptoms.

Journal article

Factor structure of the 10-item CES-D scale among community dwelling older adults in Singapore

Authors:
LEE Alex E. Y., CHOKKANATHAN Srinivasan
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(6), June 2008, pp.592-597.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

The objective of this study was to establish the factor structure, reliability and validity of a brief Community Epidemiological Study - Depression (CESD) scale among Community dwelling older adults in Singapore. Data were derived from interviews conducted among 1,013 randomly selected non-institutionalised adults aged 65 and above in Singapore. First, Confirmatory Factor Analysis was conducted to test three factors in the entire sample: a one-factor model, a two-factor model (Depressed affect, Positive affect) and a three-factor model (Depressed affect, Somatic retardation, and Positive affect). Next, Multi-Group Analysis was conducted to test the scale invariance for male and female older adults. The findings supported a two-factor model - depressed affect and positive affect for the entire sample. In addition, multi-group analysis showed the two-factor structure to be invariant for male and female older adults. It was concluded that brief CESD demonstrates adequate reliability and validity. The CESD scores can be used to compare symptoms of depression between male and female older adults.

Journal article

Depression and chronic medical illnesses in Asian older adults: the role of subjective health and functional status

Authors:
NITI Matthew, et al
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(11), November 2007, pp.1087-1094.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Depression in elderly is reportedly associated with a number of specific chronic illnesses. Whether each of these co-morbid associations results uniquely from disease-specific psychobiological responses or is mediated by non-specific factors like subjective health and functional status is unclear. Analysis of data of 2,611 community-dwelling Chinese aged 55 and older, including depressive symptoms defined by Geriatric Depression Scale score  5 and self-reports of specific chronic illnesses. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 13.3%, lower in those without chronic illness (7.5%), and higher in those with illnesses (13.2-24.2%). Crude Odds Ratios (OR) were significantly elevated for hypertension, eye disorders, diabetes, arthritis, ischemic heart disease, asthma/COPD, stroke, osteoporosis, heart failure, thyroid problem, and gastric problem. In multivariable analyses, only asthma/COPD, gastric problem, arthritis and heart failure remained independently associated with depressive symptoms, after adjusting for comorbidities, subjective health and functional status, cognitive functioning, smoking, alcohol, psychosocial and demographic variables. Most comorbid associations of depressive symptoms with specific chronic illnesses are explained by accompanying poor self-reported health and functional status, but some illnesses probably have a direct psychobiological basis.

Journal article

Singapore social work students: attitudes toward older adults

Authors:
MEHTA Kalyani K., TAN P. Philip, JOSHI Veena D.
Journal article citation:
Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work, 10(2), September 2000, pp.40-54.
Publisher:
Times Academic

Found that the attitudes of a sample of 201 undergraduate Singaporean students toward older adults were in the neutral range. A small minority (5.6%) was planning a career in gerontology. Comparisons of findings are made with an American sample. Implications for social work education and future research are discussed.

Journal article

Living will: an Eastern and a Western perspective

Authors:
HONG Chia Swee, HAVERS Julia
Journal article citation:
Elders the Journal of Care and Practice, 5(2), July 1996, pp.31-40.

This article defines the term 'Living Wills'. It outlines the historical context leading to the development of living wills and the legal position regarding their use in Singapore and Britain. Finally the relevance of living wills is briefly discussed with reference to occupational therapy practice.

Journal article

Trends and implications for human service development in Singapore

Author:
ANG John
Journal article citation:
Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work, 5(1), January 1995, pp.95-106.
Publisher:
Times Academic

The changing status of Singapore women leads to delayed marriage and lower parity, altering the demographic profile. Some implications for human service development in elderly and family welfare are discussed.

Journal article

Exploratory study on challenges faced by ageing persons with physical disabilities

Author:
CHUNG Angela
Journal article citation:
Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 21(1), June 2011, pp.89-96.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

As the population enjoys a longer life expectancy, persons with disabilities are also living longer. There is growing evidence that persons with physical disabilities may age in an accelerated way from their able-bodied counterparts, due to over-use of particular muscle groups to compensate for a lost function or to long-term complications resulting from the original impairments. This exploratory study sought to investigate whether older adults with lifelong physical disabilities are buffered with sufficient financial, familial, social, and spiritual resources to deal with this challenge. A total of 28 beneficiaries aged 50 years and above from a voluntary welfare organisation that supports persons with disabilities took part in an interviewer-administered survey. In addition, 6 respondents also took part in individual face-to-face interviews. The findings showed some level of perceived lack of financial and social resources, and a general sentiment of apprehension over financial needs and future care. The article concludes that more preparation should be done to educate and prepare ageing persons with disabilities to better plan for their old age.

Journal article

The challenges of conducting focus-group research among Asian older adults

Author:
MEHTA Kalyani K.
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 31(3), April 2011, pp.408-421.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This paper investigates the value of focus groups as a data collection method in studies of older people with particular reference to those living in large cities in Asia. Some of the method's strengths derive from the interaction among older people with a shared history and lived experiences. Focus-group exchanges have the potential for inter-personal learning and reminiscence benefits. One difficulty with the method, however, is that many Asian people are inhibited about sharing personal problems in a group context. The paper draws from a number of studies in Singapore, and highlights the challenges of conducting focus groups with older participants. Ethical issues such as confidentiality, cultural sensitivities such as language and respect for religion and tradition are discussed. Also, lessons learnt from conducting research using the group setting are discussed. Culturally relevant responses to these challenges are offered which could be useful for future researchers in Asia.

Journal article

Giving help in return: family reciprocity by older Singaporeans

Authors:
VERBRUGGE Lois M., CHAN Angelique
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 28(1), January 2008, pp.5-34.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

Reciprocity is a powerful principle in social ties. The ethos of family reciprocity is especially strong in Asian societies. In this study, the authors examine study contemporaneous family exchanges, hypothesising that the more current help older Singaporeans receive from family, the more they give in return. Cross-sectional analyses were undertaken of data from two national Singapore surveys conducted in 1995 and 1999. The help received by older people is measured by income and cash support, payment of household expenses by others, having a companion for away-from-home activities, and having a principal carer. The help given by older people is measured by baby-sitting, doing household chores, giving financial help to children, and advising on family matters. Multivariate models are used to examine the factors that affect an older person's ability and willingness to give help. The results show that the more financial support Singapore seniors received from kin, the more baby-sitting and chores they provided. In their swiftly modernising society, Singapore seniors are maintaining family reciprocity by giving time in return for money. The article discusses how during the coming decades, reciprocity in Southeast and East Asian societies may shift from instrumental to more affective behaviours.

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