Eighth Henry Lim Lecture - Prof Kua Ee Heok




Successful Ageing: Redefined Epidemiology and a single case study

Kua Ee Heok, MBBS, MD, FRCPsych, PBM
Professor and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist National University Health System

The pioneering work by Rowe and Kahn (1997) has defined the concept of successful ageing on biomedical, psychological and social constructs. In the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study, this concept has been expanded to include functionality and life satisfaction ( Ng TP, et al. 2009). In this study, the results showed that 60.5% of a cohort of 1294 Chinese elderly ( 65 years or more) had good physical health, 71.8% were mentally well, 95.1% had good social functioning and 88.2% had positive life satisfaction. There are other models of successful ageing but the focus has always been about the person or ego-centricity.

The late Mr Henry Lim, as a case study, was the poster boy of active ageing and his contribution to public service in volunteerism and philanthropy has redefined successful ageing. He was the indefatigable volunteer in many homes for the elderly. With his modest donation to the NUS Gerontological Research Programme and the Singapore Action Group of Elders in 2000, a study on ageing in the Toa Payoh district was published in 2 books - ' The Quest for Longevity' and 'Long Lives'. In memory of his beloved wife, he set up the Alice Lim Memorial Fund which provided initial financial support for the Jurong Ageing Study in 2010. In recognition of his public service, he was awarded the PBM, BBM and Distinguished Volunteerism Award by the Singapore Government.