The contribution of group members to a study project can be taken for granted, with identified senior leaders getting the most consideration.

A current exception is Micah Tan, a study associate at the Center for Analysis on Effective Aging (ROSA) at the Singapore Management University (SMU). For his function with each other at ROSA, Tan was awarded the inaugural 2022 Analysis Employees Excellence Award.


Winning the award gave me a sturdy sense of accomplishment and inspired me to want to do extra, each for the SMU neighborhood and extra commonly in terms of contributing to the wellness and nicely-becoming of older adults.


Micah Tan, Associate Researcher, Center for Analysis on Effective Aging (ROSA), Singapore Management University


Tan was drawn to a study profession via his interest in folks.

“From a young age, I loved interacting with folks and mastering extra about distinct cultures, and I located that conducting social science study was an excellent way to capitalize on this interest,” he says.

Tan’s function has concentrated on older adults, which could possibly appear surprising for a somewhat young academic.

“Substantially of my motivation for wanting to do study connected to older adults comes from my personal individual experiences,” he says. “Growing up, I watched my parents go via the transition from complete-time function to retirement and it produced me assume about what that transition meant and what life in retirement must be like.

“Also, Singapore is facing a swiftly aging population and it is becoming increasingly crucial for us to address the social difficulties arising from this demographic trend.”

Constant messaging

The paper co-authored by Tan, which caught the eye of the awards panel, was written in the course of the early days of the COVID pandemic and identified that a crucial attitudinal barrier major to vaccine hesitancy amongst older residents is trust, or lack thereof, in government messages.

“1 issue that wants to be clarified is that our survey showed that the vast majority of Singaporeans nonetheless had a lot of trust in the government in the course of the pandemic. Nonetheless, for the handful of who did not, I assume a single crucial issue that could have led to this was the rise of option narratives in the media,” says Tan.

“[Government] messaging can in some cases be drowned out by the overwhelming flood of other perspectives and narratives that can very easily be located on social media and the online. When you happen to be faced with so quite a few distinct narratives and never have a sturdy level of trust in extra trusted sources, it is straightforward to get lost.

“1 crucial issue researchers have identified to shape the levels of trust folks have is consistency in messaging.

Holistic measures

The ROSA title raises the query of how to define “profitable aging.”

“I assume an crucial dimension of profitable aging is staying nicely integrated in your neighborhood even in later life,” says Tan. “This is not just about maintaining in touch with buddies and household, it must also be about becoming capable to make a meaningful contribution to your neighborhood in some way.”

“I assume we all want to really feel element of anything larger than ourselves.” [and] we want to really feel valued in our communities. If we can assistance extra older adults discover meaningful approaches to participate in their communities, I assume we’ll go a lengthy way toward assisting extra folks age effectively.”

In a ROSA short co-authored by Tan, nicely-becoming amongst older adults is a desirable outcome. How can such a broad, even amorphous idea, such as nicely-becoming, be quantified as a study subject?

“This is a fantastic query, but it is a single that sadly does not have a excellent answer (however),” Tan says. “ROSA’s major objective is to create a holistic measure of nicely-becoming for the elderly that can be operationalized and made use of in Singapore as no such measure at present exists.

“At ROSA, we spend consideration to the 4 major dimensions of nicely-becoming – financial, psychological, social and mental – and strive to make a holistic measure of nicely-becoming that can capture all 4 dimensions.

The identical summary highlights financial expectations as an indicator of the nicely-becoming of older adults in the course of periods of economic challenge.

“Analysis has located that folks are frequently conscious of their economic predicament and are improved capable to estimate how a lot a distinct economic challenge will have an effect on them, compared to rough estimates at the population level.”

“Becoming negatively impacted by a economic challenge is bound to have adverse impacts on other elements of nicely-becoming, such as poorer mental wellness due to the strain of not getting sufficient.”

Overall health outcomes

Increasing price-of-living pressures are a international difficulty. The most current in a series of ROSA reports focuses on its influence on older Singaporeans.

“We’ve located that wellness care is a crucial concern for seniors, and for excellent explanation.” We interviewed our respondents to attempt to get an thought of ​​why this is, and quite a few of our respondents saw a adverse wellness shock as a single of the handful of life events that could potentially wipe out all of their retirement savings,” says Tan.

“This is for the reason that of the massive fees that could arise if somebody had been to be diagnosed with, for instance, cancer. The price of treating such a situation can be intense even with wellness insurance coverage, and could cripple somebody financially even if they attempted their finest to prepare for such a situation.

“For this explanation, quite a few of the older adults we spoke with pointed out that they worry such an occasion the most and frequently cite wellness care as a crucial economic concern.”

In its summary, the report recommends targeted help for these facing extra severe economic issues, such as older folks with low socio-financial status, as nicely as these who are unemployed, laid off or on sick leave. Monetary help must concentrate on giving necessities – utilities, meals and wellness wants – as respondents had been most concerned about the affordability of such things. And the government wants productive communication about its mitigation measures.

Tan suggests that his subsequent project also bargains with wellness difficulties.

“I am becoming increasingly interested in researching the life course elements that shape wellness outcomes in older adults. Especially, searching at how circumstances in early life can shape wellness in later life,” he says.

“Research have shown that exposure to stressful environments early in life can have lasting and lasting effects on your physiology that make you extra vulnerable to particular wellness circumstances later in life.”


Singapore Management University

By Editor