SINGAPORE - She is 73, suffers from osteoporosis and can't walk for 10 minutes without having to sit down.
But now, Lucy Lim can zip around the neighbourhood on a motorised scooter, thanks to an initiative launched yesterday by the Radin Mas Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC).
She said in Mandarin: "I walk to the market thrice a week with a walking stick. This scooter will be more convenient. I can't afford one, so it's good that we can borrow this for free."
Under the scheme, dubbed Radin Mas EZ RoaM, elderly residents or those with mobility issues can borrow the motorised scooters, sponsored by the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple, for up to two hours each time. Each scooter costs more than $1,000.
Thirty scooters will be placed at six locations within the constituency, including Bukit Merah Community Centre, Radin Mas Community Club and voluntary welfare organisations or senior activity centres.
Radin Mas MP Sam Tan said: "We have more than 20 per cent of our residents who are 60 or older, and, during my routine visits to the constituency, I always noticed that there are a lot of elderly (people) who are having movement difficulties.
"It would be very meaningful to provide them with electric scooters to facilitate their movement."
The scooters are customised so that they have a speed limit. A basket for groceries is fitted in front.
Volunteers or staff members at the centres will guide seniors on how to ride the battery-operated scooters and give them directions so that they avoid travelling on public roads.
Mr Tan noted: "We are concerned that their reflexes may not be very sharp, so we will advise them not to ride the scooters onto the roads...We will have to monitor the usage, feedback and responses from our seniors and further improve from there."
Mr Peter Lim, 55, vice-chairman of Radin Mas CCC, said: "This gives them (the) freedom to go out and about again, and it's good for the elderly.
"If they are cooped up at home all the time, they age even faster. It's very important for them to go out, interact with others and take in some fresh air."
For 70-year-old Arah Ja'apar, who uses a wheelchair, the motorised scooter will be an easier alternative.
She said: "It's easier to use than the wheelchair, and I had fallen from my wheelchair before. This is safer."
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