What seniors want: To learn new things, volunteer skills

Mr Harbhajan Singh, a senior nurse manager in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, was cited by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in his tribute to senior citizens who have helped to shape Singapore’s health-care system.

SENIORS want to spend their golden years meaningfully, and the Health Ministry is working on ways to help them do so.

This includes the chance to learn new things or volunteer their skills, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

He was sharing the findings of focus group discussions on successful ageing, in which more than 1,300 Singaporeans had taken part.

"At the community level, seniors also enjoy social activities with their families and friends and suggested having more spaces and programmes in the community to support these interactions," he said.

Mr Gan said the ideas raised in discussions would be studied by the various ministries and developed under the Action Plan for Successful Ageing.

For example, the Health Ministry (MOH) is working with the Education Ministry to study how to expand the scope and scale of learning opportunities for seniors.

It is also working with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to make volunteering more accessible, attractive, and meaningful. Details will be announced when the action plan is ready later this year.

Mr Gan also paid tribute to senior citizens such as Mr Harbhajan Singh, 74, a senior nurse manager in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

"Because of the commitment and devotion of pioneers like Mr Singh, we have today a modern and robust health-care system," he said.

To recognise their contributions, Mr Gan added, MOH has teamed up with the Singapore Business Federation to offer special benefits to seniors.

These include dining discounts, free or discounted entry to places of attraction, as well as discounted hotel stays and travel packages.

Also included are free courses offered by the Council for Third Age's senior learning providers.


This article was first published on Mar 13, 2015.
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