Helen Koh

Associate Professor Helen Ko

Associate Professor, Master and PhD of Gerontology Programmes

S R Nathan School of Human Development

Tel: +65 6248 0272

Email: aGVsZW5saW1ibEBzdXNzLmVkdS5zZw==

Educational Qualifications

  • 2012 - 2015

    Doctor of Education, University of Western Australia
    Research Focus: Training older adults (Thesis awarded Prize for the Best Piece of Research)

  • 2007

    Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research, University of Georgia, USA

  • 1991 - 1992

    Master of Arts, University of London

  • 1990

    Certificate in Counselling, Clinical Programme, Counselling & Care Centre, Singapore

  • 1984 - 1987

    Bachelor of Arts, National University of Singapore

Academic and Professional Experience

  • Jan 2021 - Present
    Singapore University of Social Sciences
    Associate Professor
  • Jan 2017 - 2020

    Singapore University of Social Sciences
    Senior Lecturer, Master & PhD in Gerontology Programmes; also teach ‘Gerontological Counselling' course in the Master of Counselling Programme at SUSS

  • Apr 2010 - Present

    Executive Director, Beyond Age Pte Ltd
    Specialise in training programmes/consultancy services with a focus on seniors employability courses e.g. counselling/managing older employees, career coaching for older employees etc., gerontological counselling, caregiving issues. Clients include public, private and people sectors. For more information, see www.beyondage.com.sg

  • 1996 - Present

    (For various durations at different institutions)
    Adjunct Lecturer (for Master and Graduate Diploma levels Social Work courses, Course: Gerontological Counselling), National University of Singapore
    Associate Faculty, Master of Counselling, Master of Gerontology, Bachelor of Counselling, Course Writer and Course Chair (Counselling the Elderly), SIM University (renamed Singapore University of Social Sciences)
    Teaching Consultant, Project REBUILD - a collaboration between Lien Centre for Palliative Care, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the Assisi Hospice. Trainer, Social Service Training Institute
    Adjunct Lecturer, Specialist Diplomas in Counselling at Temasek and Nanyang Polytechnics

  • 2007 - 2010

    Centre For Seniors, Executive Director/Director of Training & Counselling

  • Apr - Jun 2008

    Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, Oxford University
    Visiting Research Fellow

  • 1993 - 2006

    SAGE Counselling Centre
    Senior Consultant (2004 – 2006)
    Consultant (2001 – 2004)
    Director (1996 – 2001)

  • 2001 - 2003

    St Luke's Eldercare Ltd
    Chief Executive Officer

  • 1989 - 1991

    Singapore Anglican Welfare Council
    Counsellor [Alternate to Head of Centre (1990-1991)]

  • 1987 - 1989

    Development Bank of Singapore
    Bank Officer [Alternate to Branch Manager (1988 – 1989)]

Journal Articles (Refereed):

Ko, H. (2020)
Teaching older adults: An instructional model from Singapore. Educational Gerontology, published online 13 Aug 2020. Available at: hhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03601277.2020.1807689

Ko, H., & Khan, H. T. A. (2014)
Insights for Singapore's re-employment legislation: Evidence from the Global Ageing Survey (GLAS). Asian Profile, 42(2), 101-122.

Mehta, K. K., & Ko, H. (2004)
Filial piety revisited in the context of modernizing Asian societies. Geriatrics and Gerontology International, 4, S77-78.

Chiang, H. D., & Ko, H. (2002)
Mental fitness groups for elders in Singapore. The Older Learner, American Society on Aging 10(2), 4 & 8.

Chiang, H. D., & H, Ko. (2001)
A do-it-yourself programme of mental health promotion among seniors in Singapore. Gerontological International Journal of Experimental, Clinical and Behavioural Gerontology, 47(Supplement 1), 680.

Ko, H. & Chiang, H. D. (2001)
Groupwork for the elderly in Singapore. Gerontological International Journal of Experimental, Clinical and Behavioural Gerontology. 47(Supplement 1), 660.

Ko, H. (1998)
What makes a good doctor – views of non-medical professionals. Singapore Medical Journal, 39(12), 532-534.

Ko, H. (1997)
Community-based social work with the elderly. Social Dimension, (1), 9-13.

Ko, S. M., & Ko, H. (1996)
SAGE telephone counselling. Journal of Stress Medicine. 12(4), 261-265.

Books (Non-refereed):

Ko, H. (2023)
Longevity in Singapore: Implications and opportunities for individuals and society. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions.

Ko, H. (2020)
Counselling older adults: An Asian perspective. (2nd ed.). Singapore: Write Editions.

Mehta, K. K., & Ko, H. (2014)
Gerontological counselling: An introductory handbook. (2nd ed.). Singapore: Write Editions.

Ko, H. (2012)
Counselling older adults: An Asian perspective. Singapore: Write Editions.

Ko, H., Mehta, K. K., & Ko, S. M. (2006)
Understanding and counselling older persons. Singapore: SAGE Counselling Centre.

Mehta, K. K., & Ko, H. (2003)
Gerontological counselling: An introductory handbook. Singapore: SAGE Counselling Centre.

Book Chapters (Refereed and Non-refereed):

Ko, H. (2018)
Holistic framework for harnessing an ageing workforce in Singapore. In A. Sakamoto & J. Sung (Eds.), Skills and the future of work: Strategies for inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific (pp.100-124). International Labour Organisation: Author. (refereed)

Ko, H. (2017)
Reflect and live. In The better me. Singapore. Council For Third Age.

Ko, H. (2011)
Extending working life: Individuals' responses, attitudes and practices of employers in Singapore. In R. Ennals & R. H. Salomon (Eds.), Older workers in a sustainable society (pp. 157-171). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag. (refereed)

Ko, H. (1998)
Coping with loss and grief. In E. H. Kua & S. M. Ko (Eds.), A ripe old age (pp. 63-78). Singapore: Singapore Action Group of Elders.

Ko, H. (1996)
Hotline and counselling service. In K. M. Chan (Ed.), Geriatric medicine for Singapore (pp. 243-246). Singapore: Gerontological Society.

Conference Papers (Refereed):

Ko, H. (2019)
An evidence-based model for training older workers. 4th International Conference on Humanities Science, Management and Education Technology (21-23 June 2019), organized by Academic Exchange Information Centre. Singapore.

Ko, H. (2018)
Caring for the elderly: Facilitating a good closure to life. Paper presented at the Conference on Innovation.Impact: The review and vision of community end-of-life care. Hong Kong, 20-21 June 2018.

Ko, H. (2013)
Training designs for older workers: A literature review and implications for research. Paper presented at the British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference: Global ageing: Implications for individuals and society. Oxford, England, 11-13 September 2013.

Ko, H. (2011)
ECADIT – A procedural model for counselling older persons. Paper presented at the First Asia Pacific Conference on Ageing (APCA 2011): Dignity and grace of ageing. Singapore, 24-26 March 2011.

Ko, H. (2010)
Extending working life: Individuals' responses, attitudes and practices of employers in Singapore. Paper presented at the International Research Conference: Older workers in a sustainable society – Great needs and great potentials. Oslo, Norway, 9-11 June 2010.

Ko, H., & Khan, H. T. A. (2010)
Re-employment of older workers in Singapore: Preliminary insights. Paper Presented at the 4th Symposium on Work Ability: Age management during the life course. Tampere, Finland, 6-9 June 2010.

Ko, H. (2006)
Elder suicide prevention in Singapore – a multi-agency model. Paper presented at 2nd Asia Pacific Suicide Prevention Conference. Singapore, 10-12 March 2006.

Lee, A. E. Y., Ko, H. & Chokkanathan, S. (2005)
Development and pilot testing of a gero-counselling model for older Asian adults and their families. Paper presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. November 2005.

Ko, H. (2004)
Elder suicide prevention – the Singapore experience. Paper presented at the 7th Global Conference of International Federation on Ageing. Singapore, September 2004.

Ko, H., & Chiang, H. D. (2001)
Needs of retirees and strategies to address them. In Proceedings of Regional Conference "Into The Millenium of the Older Adult: Releasing Potentials & Erasing Prejudices". Singapore: Gerontological Society.

Invited Keynote/Plenary/Other addresses in Singapore and/or Internationally:

Ko, H. (2022)
Better with age. Invited address, The Singapore WSH Conference 2022 (19 – 20 Sep 2022), organised by Workplace Safety and Health Council, Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress, Singapore National Employers Federation.

Ko, H. (2021)
Losses of Older Adults: Impact and Interventions. Invited address, Samaritans of Singapore Inaugural Symposium (9 -11 Sep 2021), organised by Samaritans of Singapore. Singapore

Ko, H. (2019)
Facilitating lifelong learning: An evidence-based instructional model for older adults. Plenary address, engAGE Ageing Symposium 2019, "Cognition and Lifelong Learning" (8 Nov 2019), organised by the Centre for Applied Gerontology, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Temasek Polytechnic. Singapore.

Ko, H. (2019)
Planning for my silver years. Keynote address, Symposium Wanita 2019 (20 Oct 2019), organised by Research and Engagement Department, PPIS, Singapore.

Ko, H. (2019)
Spiritual care in a multicultural community: Patient and caregiver perspectives. Roundtable address, Singapore Health and Biomedical Congress 2019 (10-12 Oct 2019), organised by the National Healthcare Group, Singapore. Singapore.

Ko, H. (2019)
Evidence-based principles for coaching older learners. GS Conference 2019: The Art and Science of Ageing Well (24 Aug 2019), organised by the Gerontological Society of Singapore. Singapore.

Ko, H. (2019)
An evidence-based model for training older workers. Plenary address, 4th International Conference on Humanities Science, Management and Education Technology (21-23 June 2019), organized by Academic Exchange Information Centre. Singapore.

Ko, H. (2018)
Promoting age-friendly workplaces: Singapore's strategies. Keynote address, Age-Friendly Hong Kong Summit cum 2018 Age-Friendly City Appreciation Scheme Recognition Ceremony, Gerontech & Innovation Expo cum Summit 2018 (22-25 Nov 2018), organised by The Hong Kong Council of Social Service. Hong Kong.

Ko, H. (2018)
Holistic framework for harnessing an ageing workforce: The case of Singapore. International Labour Organisation/Korea TVET Forum 2018: Skills and the future of work: Strategies for inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific (19-20 Nov 2018), organised by International Labour Organisation and the Ministry of Employment and Labour, Republic of Korea. Bangkok, Thailand.

Ko, H. (2018)
An evidence-based model for developing older workers. Keynote address, Singapore National Employers Federation-Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (SNEFTAFEP) Age-Inclusive Symposium: Creating meaningful careers for the future (25 Sep 2018). Singapore.

Ko, H. (2017)
Healing strained intergenerational relationships in ageing families: Insights & implications for practice. Plenary address, Asian Family Conference 2017: Ageing families in Asia: Challenges and opportunities (29 Nov 2017), organised by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. Singapore.

Ko, H. (2017)
Promoting caregiver-friendly workplaces: Singapore's approach. Financial and Employment Impacts of Family Caregiving Academic Seminar (19 June 2017), organised by The University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong.

Ko, H. (2017)
The impact of media on older adults. Third Conference on Counselling for Malaysian Caregivers: The impact of media on people of different age groups (27-29 May 2017), organised by Agape Counselling Centre. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Ko, H. (2016)
Employment and ageing in Singapore. Plenary address, First Working Women in an Ageing Society Conference: Work, age, gender (3-5 Jun 2016), organised by Fukuoka Women's University, Kyushu University, SALT (Stepping Across the Line Transitions into Retirement), Coalition of Advancing Women in Fukuoka. Fukuoka, Japan.

Ko, H. (2016)
Older Women, Health and Lifelong Learning (25 Jan 2016), jointly organised by Modern Ageing and SIM University.

Ko, H. (2015)
Teaching older workers: Principles distilled from a recent study conducted in Singapore. Plenary address, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Singapore) Centre for Ageing Research and Education Symposium: Live, learn and work – Exploring possibilities with longevity (12 Nov 2015). Singapore.

Ko, H. (2011)
Will I Ever Get Over My Child's Death? (22 Oct 2011), jointly organised by Assisi Hospice & Lien Centre for Palliative Care.

Ko, H. (2011)
Managing an ageing workforce. Plenary address, Asia Pacific Employee Assistance Roundtable (APEAR) Conference: Multigenerational workforce - Opportunity for competitive success (27-29 Apr 2011), organised by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP). Singapore.

Ko, H. (2008)
Singapore's response to an ageing workforce. Presentation at Oxford University's Institute of Ageing's Seminar Series, 7 May 2008.

Invited Media Commentaries:

Ko, H. (2021, 27 July)
Heeding cries for help – getting to the heart of elderly suicides requires more than
counselling. CNA. Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/elderly-suicide-cries-helphelpline-support-2077891

Ko, H. (2020, 3 August)
Singapore's public sector ought to take the lead in hiring older workers. Today Online. Available at: https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/singapore-public-sector-civil-service-take-lead-hiring-older-workers

Ko, H. (2019, 25 August)
Seniors do well at their jobs yet ageist myths and negative stereotypes persist. CNA. Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/retirement-re-employmentage-raised-cpf-withdrawal-65-68-70-11827194

Ko, H. (2019, 17 August)
It's high time for a Ministry on Ageing Issues. CNA. Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/ageing-issues-ministry-singapore-policy-elderly-seniorsageing-11782364

Ko, H. (2019, 4 June)
High time Singapore employers ditch ageist attitudes towards older workers. Today Online. Available at: www.todayonline.com/commentary/high-time-singapore-employers-ditch-ageist-attitudes-towards-older-workers

Ko, H. (2017, November 3)
Valuing and capitalising on an ageing workforce. The Straits Times. Available at http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/valuing-and-capitalising-on-an-ageing-workforce

Ko H. (2015, March 24)
The business of integrating ageing and employment in Singapore. Singapore
Business Review.

Ko, H. (2010, December 15)
It pays to hire older employees. The Straits Times.

  • Advisor, St Luke’s Eldercare, 2004 – 2007; 2021 - present.
  • Centre on Ageing Fellow (Honorary), Sau Po Centre on Ageing, The University of Hong Kong, since 2021.
  • Research Fellow (Honorary), Sau Po Centre on Ageing, The University of Hong Kong, 2018 - 2020.
  • Research Advisor (Honorary), Singapore Ministry of Social & Family Development, 2018 - 2020.
  • Member, Board of Governors, SIM [Serving In Mission] (International), 2017 - 2020. SIM is an international Christian charity providing education, healthcare, development, humanitarian and relief work to about 80 countries in 6 continents.
  • Board Director, SIM [Serving In Mission] (East Asia), 2011 - 2020.
  • External Examiner, Diploma in Social Sciences in Gerontology (previously Diploma in Gerontological Management Studies), Temasek Polytechnic, since 2016.
  • Board Director, Council For Third Age, 2015 - 2019.
  • Board Director (Alternate), St Luke’s Hospital, 2012 - 2018.
  • Member, Domain Advisory Committee - Workplace Age Management, 2014 – 2015.
  • Vice-chairman, Singapore National Feedback Unit REACH’s Policy Study Workgroup (Manpower Issues) (2010).
  • Member, Committee on Ageing Issues (2004 – 2006, chaired by the late Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Balaji Sadasivan.
  • Member, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ageing Population (2004) chaired by Minister Lim Hng Kiang.
  • Member, Industry Skills Standards Committee of the Workforce Development Agency. This Committee developed the skills standards for the Eldercare Sector under the National Skills Recognition System (2002 – 2005).
  • Member, Committee on Aged, National Advisory Council on Family and the Aged (NACFA) (1996 – 1998).
  • Ageing workforce management, retirement issues
  • Lifelong learning, training/instructional design for older adults/workers
  • Gerontological counselling
  • End-of-life care, grief and loss, death and bereavement
  • Singapore University of Social Sciences’ Award for Teaching Excellence 2022
  • Leslie Kirkley Fellowship (Apr – Jun 2008), by Oxford Institute of Ageing (renamed Oxford Institute of Population Ageing), University of Oxford
  • Research grant: Voluntary Welfare Services Capability Fund (VCF), National Council of Social Services (2004 – 2007)
  • Selected to participate in a Study Mission to Israel with the Committee on Ageing Issues (CAI). Visited more than 10 eldercare facilities and held discussions with numerous experts in age care (2003).
  • Six months (Jun – Dec 1997) Training Award by Sage Counselling Centre. Attended courses at Harvard University, UMass (Boston) PhD in Gerontology Programme. Also attended the Gerontological Society of America Annual Conference, Association of Death Education and Counselling (ADEC) Conference and Pre-Conference Grief Counselling Course (Cincinnati), and several grief/bereavement seminars (Boston). Visited about 30 aged care services/facilities in Boston, Florida and London.
  • United Nations Two Week Intensive Short Course on Social Gerontology (Malta, 1996) (First Singaporean awarded)
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