Watch the replay of
Our Health, Our Lives, Our Stories

Living with Intellectual Disability in the Community

About the Event

Persons with intellectual disability (PWID) are living longer, resulting in a growing population of ageing PWID in the world. This leads to a set of unique and complex challenges faced by them and their ageing caregivers, which our current healthcare and social setup does not cater to. This needs to be addressed urgently.

Based on the estimate that at least 1% of the adult population has intellectual disability, there are no less than 33,000 adults with intellectual disability (ID) in Singapore. As the diagnosis of ID does not only affect the individual, but impacts the entire family, this translates to a large number of caregivers and family members living with the effects of ID.

The healthcare needs of PWID are greater, more complex, and present differently from the general population. The presence of dual diagnosis (co-occurring psychiatric disorder and ID) is also common. However, these health needs often go unrecognised and untreated, due to communication difficulties, diagnostic overshadowing, discrimination and indifference.

Historically, it was routine for many parents to outlive their children with ID. However, it is now increasingly common to find PWID living into older adulthood, with their ageing parents continuing in their caregiver role. This becomes more challenging as they grow older, for they start having to manage and cope with complex ageing issues in both themselves and their children.

They grapple with anxiety and uncertainty for the future as they and their charges age. They struggle constantly with the tough question: “What will happen when I am gone?” Caregivers of PWID frequently care for their charges at the expense of their own physical and mental health, and furthermore, as lifelong caregivers, they often continue caregiving till their own incapacity, or death.

The cost of not addressing the healthcare needs of these ageing caregivers and their similarly ageing adult children is immense. The price of not addressing their growing and complex needs cannot be overstated.

This webinar kick-starts a series of health symposiums aiming to bring together health, social and disability service providers, governmental and non-governmental agencies; to develop an integrated model of health and social care, and build a much needed service ecosystem for this vulnerable population in Singapore.

Do join us on this exciting journey.


9.00am Opening Address

• Dr. Mary Ann Tsao, Chairperson, Tsao Foundation, President, ILC - Singapore, Co-President, ILC Global Alliance

9.10am Address by Guest of Honour

• Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health

9.20am Perspectives I

• A Video Presentation by Tsao Foundation

9.25am Ageing in Persons with Intellectual Disability: The Good Life

• Emeritus Professor Trevor R. Parmenter, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney

9.45am Navigating the Seas of Caregiving: A Mental Health Perspective

• Dr Wei Ker-Chiah, Head, Adult Neurodevelopmental Service, Institute of Mental Health

• Ms Teo Ginnyueh, Principal Social Worker, Institute of Mental Health

10.05am Future Care Planning: Sunrise or Sunset?

• Ms Ong Lay Hoon, Head, Caregiver Support Services, MINDS

10.25am Perspectives II

• A Video Presentation by Tsao Foundation

10.30am Mum and Me: The Seasons of Life

• Dr Chen Shiling, Head, Intellectual Disability Service, Tsao Foundation

10.50am Panel Discussion

• All Speakers

• Moderator: Dr Ng Wai Chong, Founder and CEO, NWC Longevity Practice Pte Ltd, Singapore

11.20am Closing Address

• Dr Chen Shiling, Head, Intellectual Disability Service, Tsao Foundation