Some 600 elderly Singaporeans took part in a Charity Walk at Choa Chu Kang on Sunday.
The walk – organised by Lions Befrienders and ITE College West – raised over S$100,000 that will go toward supporting Senior Activity Centres, which help the elderly with their social and emotional needs, through community activities run by Lions Befrienders.
The money was raised through outright donations from corporates and fundraising efforts from various networking partners of Lions Befrienders.
The seniors were joined by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, and 200 students from ITE College West.
The walk gave the students a platform to interact with the elderly.
Mr Gan said with Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, it’s important to engage seniors in meaningful activities – to ensure they enjoy good mental and emotional health.
He also noted that the community must do its part to help seniors lead productive and active lifestyles.
“To look after our seniors, to help them to lead healthy and active lifestyles is the responsibility not only of the government or the seniors themselves, but of each and every one in the community. I hope through this activity we will raise awareness of the needs of the seniors among our midst as well as provide more opportunities for our seniors to get to know one another, to be engaged, to develop friendship and also develop emotional support as they age,” he said.
Lions Befrienders said it hopes to raise awareness among the youth – of the difficulties faced by some elderly Singaporeans.
Mr Goh Boo Hang, executive director of Lions Befrienders said: “I think this is just to share with them (the students) that there are a lot of elderly people in the community that require help from the rest of us because they’re not as fortunate as some of us and a lot of them are living on their own with very limited or no family support, and quite a number are on public assistance.”
Cheng Siew Kee, a housewife, said: “I enjoy very much and I feel very much younger. I appreciate this programme very much and I appreciate that I can come and join the younger generation.”
Farishia Osman, an ITE College West student, said: “I think it’s important because they are part of our community, and if we don’t then who else will? And the younger generation are going to be the future leaders so they have to start young, start caring for them because, like I said, they’re part of the community.”