June 19, 2011

SINGAPORE: Helping the elderly age actively in the community

SINGAPORE / ChannelNewsAsia / Singapore / June 19, 2011

By S Ramesh

The elderly should be spending more time on activities like qigong. With about 1,600 senior citizens in a mass qigong exercise, being in the company of friends and residents keeps them active, healthy and socially connected. For the community, the exercise and brisk walk were also ways to promote racial harmony and celebrate Father's Day.

Ageing issues is one area which the government will be placing much importance and one concept which the government is promoting is active ageing. In this regard, the Community Development Councils have come up with several programmes to help the elderly age actively in the community.

Mayor of Central Singapore District, Sam Tan, said keeping fit and having an active mind are two ways towards active ageing.

Senior citizens in a mass qigong exercise

He said one third of the population in the Central Singapore CDC is 50 years and above. Given this sizeable elderly population, the CDC will organise more programmes to promote healthy and active ageing, especially for those who are on their own.

Mr Tan said: "Social isolation is one common issue facing elderly, particularly those living alone. So we would like to work with all the grassroots organisations in Central Singapore CDC to organise events like this, and some other community events to draw residents to the community centres and residents activities and public areas to inter-mingle and exercise, so that it keeps their body and mind healthy."

For this, the CDC has a Bright Homes Programme, involving about 900 volunteers from more than 40 institutions and schools.

Mr Tan said: "This is a collaboration between the public, people and private sectors. This programme enables us to collaborate with more then 40 institutions and schools involving more than 900 volunteers.

"They will visit the elderly living alone or living with their families regularly, so as to keep a watch on their well-being and also what else can be done to overcome certain problems in their living and other issues."

So far, the CDC has reached out to some 2,000 senior citizens.


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