Efforts to boost inter-generational harmony

We agree with Mr Seah Yam Meng that fostering inter-generational harmony is important, as Singapore is rapidly ageing ("Build childcare centres within nursing homes"; Monday).

This year, the Ministerial Committee for Ageing launched the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, which covers more than 70 initiatives in 12 areas.

This is a holistic national blueprint across the individual, community and national levels to help Singaporeans age well and healthily.

Promoting inter-generational harmony is one of our key goals.

Similar to Mr Seah's idea, we intend to co-locate eldercare and childcare facilities in some 10 new public housing developments over the next 10 years.

The first co-located site will be in Kampung Admiralty, where the two centres are co-located on the same level, sharing a common green space.

Today, there are eldercare centres such as NTUC Health Silver Circle in Serangoon Central and St Hilda's Community Services Centre in Jalan Batu which organise regular activities with childcare centres in the area.

We are also encouraging existing operators of eldercare facilities to introduce innovative programmes that allow the young and old to interact.

We have also started the Inter-generational Learning Programme (ILP) under the National Silver Academy, where schools match their students with seniors in a group learning environment.

Young people can share their knowledge on various topics such as IT and music, while seniors can share their life experiences and wisdom with the youngsters.

Not only does the ILP allow seniors to pursue new interests, but it also promotes inter-generational bonding between students and seniors. Seniors also gain friendships and remain socially connected.

To date, more than 70 schools have run the ILP, benefiting more than 12,000 seniors and students in total.

Beyond the ILP, we are also working with the Ministry of Education to incorporate ageing-related issues as part of the national school curriculum, to instil in our young the importance of care and respect for seniors.

We thank Mr Seah for his feedback.

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)

Director

Corporate Communications

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Efforts to boost inter-generational harmony'. Print Edition | Subscribe