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Key findings (2019)

What older people need in Singapore: A households budgets study (May 2019)

In this study, we conducted focus group discussions to ascertain how ordinary Singaporeans think about what constitutes basic needs in Singapore today, and to determine the household budgets necessary to meet these needs. We focused on four household types: (1) male, 65 years and older, living alone; (2) female, 65 years and older, living alone; (3) couple, 65 years old and older, living together; (4) male or female, 55-64 years old, living alone.

This page provides a brief introduction to some key findings. For more detail, please see:

Key findings

Participants put together household budgets that:

Participants developed a consensus-based definition of “basic standard of living”:

A basic standard of living in Singapore is about, but more than just, housing, food, and clothing. It is about having opportunities to education, employment, and work-life balance, as well as access to healthcare. It enables a sense of belonging, respect, security, and independence. It also includes choices to participate in social activities, and the freedom to engage in one’s cultural and religious practices.

In particular, participants emphasised:

Participants discussed and generated lists of items and services related to housing and utilities; things needed in a two-room HDB flat; personal care items and clothing; food; transport; leisure and cultural activities; and healthcare. Respondents explained their reasons for including items as basic needs. Their discussions shed light on how things such as travel, gifts, and special-occasion clothing matter for quality of life, independence and autonomy, and social connections.

Based on the detailed list of items and services, the budgets required to meet basic standards of living were:

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