21 February 2019, Singapore: The spotlight was on the elderly and their caregivers when the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation (MSIWF) announced the award of four grants for research on
advancing the welfare of the elderly, empowering their caregivers and improving community support for seniors.
Coinciding with the government’s push to boost support for elderly care in Singapore, the 12th MSIWF Research Grant Awards ceremony – held at Equarius Hotel, Sentosa – saw a total of $39,080 awarded to four separate researchers for their work in developing a device to help seniors with dysphagia (swallowing impairment) and their caregivers, building a dementia-friendly community, optimising cancer care for elderly patients and identifying the role of muscle stem cells in sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting).
The four research grant awardees were chosen out of a total of 205 applications received from across Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, following a rigorous selection process based on the originality, practicality and social significance of the research project.
* Ms Ang Xing Yee Amberyce, PhD (Gerontology) Student at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), for her research on community support for dementia care in Singapore. With inputs from caregivers and professionals caring for People with Dementia (PWD), the study aims to understand and propose recommendations on how the community can be effectively integrated to provide support for PWDs.
* Ms Elisa Marie Crombie, Graduate Student at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine), for her research into understanding the role of muscle stem cells in age-related muscle wasting (sarcopenia).
*Dr Ravindran Kanesvaran, Senior Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), for his research into optimising cancer care for elderly patients through the development of a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) Programme.
* Dr Wong Seng Mun, Principal Speech Therapist at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), for her research into the development of an automatic beverage thickening device for elderly with swallowing impairment (dysphagia), simplifying the preparation of thickened liquids to minimise errors, thereby encouraging independent living for the elderly, and saving time for healthcare workers, elderly patients and their caregivers.
Founded in 1975 by Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance in Japan, MSIWF advocates for budding and inter-disciplinary research focused on the growing ageing population and the rising concerns over traffic safety in Asia.
The awards ceremony marks a special year in which all four selected grant recipients are conducting research projects on senior citizen welfare, reflecting the prominence of the issue of elderly care.
Mr Michael Gourlay, CEO of MSIG Singapore, said: “According to the health ministry, by
the year 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be over the age of 651. This new reality will present fresh challenges to individuals, families and communities, and caregivers to the elderly will play an increasingly important role in society. Through the Foundation, we’re happy to be able to support and advance research in better supporting these caregivers and caring for our rapidly ageing population, as we continue to serve the communities around us.”
This year marks the 12th year of this prestigious grant since its establishment in Singapore. To date, the Foundation has supported a total of 46 projects with a value of over $440,000. In total, it has awarded 2,077 grants with a value of over JPY2,384 million (approximately $29.7 million) in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and more recently Taiwan, since 1975.