Tuesday 26 June 2012

CDCs launch Caring for the Silver Community initiative

By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia, 24 Jun 2012

Five Community Development Councils (CDCs) have come together to champion the cause of social support for the elderly.

They are doing this through an initiative called "Caring for the Silver Community". It was launched on Sunday morning by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Dr Tan said Singapore's focus on seniors is timely as the population of citizens aged 65 and above will triple to about 900,000 by 2030.

In addition, an increasing number of seniors are living alone and many of them face the risk of social isolation.

Dr Tan said: "Caring for the elderly is a responsibility that we must all share. Most elderly would prefer to be cared for by family members or friends in their own homes, if possible.

"Even as the government sets aside more funds for the long-term care sector, our families must continue to care for the seniors living with us as long as we have the capability to do so.

"Our society must also do its part to provide our seniors with the opportunities to live healthy, active and meaningful lives, and to bond and socialise with other members of the community."

The "Caring for the Silver Community" initiative aims to raise awareness and engage the community in enhancing social support programmes for seniors.

The CDCs will lead and support community programmes to reach out to seniors in the community.

They have three strategic thrusts - promoting an active and healthy lifestyle, strengthening assistance for vulnerable seniors, and developing senior volunteerism.

Dr Tan said: "The South West CDC's partnership with ITE College West has provided IT training and installed home safety features for close to 3,000 elderly beneficiaries over more than 10 years.

"I am therefore encouraged to see the CDCs come together through today's event to involve the community in caring for our seniors. By involving and partnering with community stakeholders, our CDCs can further enhance and expand the range of services that will be needed for our aging population in years to come."

Over the past few years, Singapore's Community Development Councils have been launching a whole series of programmes to help seniors citizens live independently in the community.

So far 28 of them have been introduced and these include the fall prevention programme that gives senior citizens the knowledge of how to prevent falls in their home.

Other programmes like the national brisk walking clubs have received overwhelming response. There are now nearly 105,000 active members in these clubs.

The funds for these programmes will come from the CDCs as well as corporate partners.

Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West CDC, said: "The CDCs will use their funds, which are really for residents for the benefit, as well as tap on the resources of our community partners - the companies, the VWOs - in terms of assistance in kind as well as financial assistance from the companies to multiply our resources, create and introduce more programmes to strengthen our support for the elderly."

President Tony Tan also urged the CDCs to tap on their strong volunteer support base to help uplift the lives of our senior citizens.

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