Friday, 15 August 2014

Feedback about ageing wanted for action plan

By Cheryl Faith Wee, The Straits Times, 14 Aug 2014

People are getting more tech-savvy so studio apartments for the elderly should in the future have video conferencing technology. Similarly, buddy systems could employ WhatsApp to stay in touch with seniors.

There were no lack of ideas Thursday evening at the first of 14 public focus groups to be organised by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing to gather feedback for its action plan for successful ageing. About 60 people, from their 40s to their 80s, were present.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor told the media: "The emphasis is really about turning the conversation about ageing to a more positive one. Ageing is not just about growing old and frail, gloom and doom. Even though there are challenges, there are also opportunities."

Dr Khor also said technology would be of great help in making sure the elderly are not isolated.

The next few sessions will focus on topics such as senior-friendly homes and transport. The public can sign up for them online at

Thursday's discussion was held at the Social Service Institute at TripleOne Somerset.

Participants were divided into small groups to talk about issues related to health and wellness, lifelong learning, aged care and infrastructure.

Mr Low Kim Suan, 66, a financial consultant, came to see how he could help.

He said: "I am thinking not just for myself, but for the elderly of the future. As a person of this age, I have gone through many things which have affected me. I want to be able to contribute so I signed up because this allows me to speak what I have in mind."

'Be more sensitive' to needs of the elderly
Different residents have competing requests, says South East District mayor
By Joyce Lim, The Sunday Times, 7 Sep 2014

Civic consciousness here has to mature alongside an ageing population, said Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman yesterday, as he urged the younger generation to be more sensitive to the needs of the elderly.

"It's a real challenge moving forward unless the community appreciates the needs of the seniors," said the Minister of State for Defence and National Development.

Dr Maliki, who is Mayor of South East District, said he often gets competing demands from residents in his constituency.

For example, the elderly would ask him for more benches at void decks so that they can sit while waiting for their grandchildren's schoolbuses, said Dr Maliki.

But one younger couple asked him to "please take out the benches because the old people sit there and make a lot of noise".

He was speaking on the sidelines of a public focus group on how to make public spaces and facilities more elderly friendly.

About 50 people, half of whom were aged above 50, attended the 21/2-hour-long session, organised by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing to gather feedback for its action plan for successful ageing,

Some of the ideas the participants came up with include building more public toilets, having fitness corners on the rooftop of Housing Board blocks, and putting more amenities within five minutes' walk from homes of the elderly.

Said 67-year-old retiree Lee Wooi Sing: "Whenever I go to Ang Mo Kio bus interchange, I always have difficulty finding the bus that I need to take as there are not enough signs to guide the elderly."

Mr Lee, who lives in Woodlands, said that he has also noticed how an overhead bridge that leads to Marsiling MRT is not completely elderly friendly when it has an escalator on only one side of the bridge.

Some of these issues are already being looked into by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing, Dr Maliki said.

Dr Maliki said that while it is easier to build infrastructure such as public toilets, Singaporeans should also build up the kampung spirit.

He said: "It's the spirit of being sensitive and appreciating each other as much as we can. Some level of give and take, some level of appreciation of what it means to have benches at the void deck spaces... accept the fact that there will be some level of noise."

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