In 2014, the number of elderly suicides reached a historical high of 126. This is a 60% jump from only 79 in 2000. Compared to 2010, there were only 95 elderly suicides which confirmed the rising trend.
According to a NGO counsellor from Tsao Foundation, Chan Wai Ping, elderly people are turning to suicide to end their pain and struggles. In Singapore, tens of thousands of elderly Singaporeans live in extreme poverty living in rented housing and being malnourished. In 2011, Tan Tock Seng Hospital released a survey finding revealing that 1 in 3 elderly Singaporeans are not eating right, with a lack of vital nutrition like calcium, fibre and iron.
Employment for elderly Singaporeans are mostly low income and labour jobs like cleaners and security guards. Others who are unemployable will take to the streets collecting cardboards earning $6 a day or begging on the streets selling tissue paper.
The Singapore’s Central Provident Fund is insufficient to meet retirement needs and there is no Minimum Wage or welfare to ensure a social safety net for elderly in Singapore. The Singapore government however refuses to acknowledge poverty-related problems with the Minister of Social and Family Development (MSF) once referring the cardboard collecting to “exercising”.
Tan Chuan Jin: Old people who collect cardboard are just exercising