Colouring books for the elderly bring back sweet memories

Mr Gan Kim Yong (centre) tries his hand at colouring with senior citizens at the launch of World Of Colours - Sweet Memories at Bukit Batok West yesterday. Looking on are (from left) Mr Seow Choke Meng, business consultant of SPH's Chinese Media Grou
Mr Gan Kim Yong (centre) tries his hand at colouring with senior citizens at the launch of World Of Colours - Sweet Memories at Bukit Batok West yesterday. Looking on are (from left) Mr Seow Choke Meng, business consultant of SPH's Chinese Media Group, Mr Ang Hak Seng and Ms Low Yen Ling.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Colouring books for children have always been around, and adult colouring books have recently become popular. For all you know, colouring books for the elderly could soon be the next big thing.

Yesterday, a colouring book for the elderly was launched to encourage them to stay healthy.

Titled World Of Colours - Sweet Memories, the book was jointly launched by the Chinese Media Group of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) with the People's Association (PA).

Mr Ang Hak Seng, chief executive director of PA, said: "We chose colouring because it's simple, accessible and affordable and... helps our senior citizens stay physically, socially and mentally active."

At the book launch in Bukit Batok West, Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong tried his hand at colouring, with 200 senior citizens present.

Mr Gan said the book sends an important message that "ageing can be exciting, fun and fulfilling".

Many elderly participants said colouring could benefit their health.

"I feel very happy when I'm colouring. It's a good way to exercise a little bit and a good way to pass time with friends," said Mr Yee Chong Sent, a 94-year-old retiree.

Others also saw it as an opportunity to bond with their grandchildren.

"I have five grandchildren and they also like colouring so I will definitely share it with them," said Mr Khusaini Samari, a 65-year-old retiree.

The 100-page book will retail at all major bookstores and newsstands at $12 and will include a box of 12 colour pencils. Nett sales proceeds from the book will be used to organise activities to promote the mental wellness of Singapore's pioneer generation.

Mr Ang said the PA will be distributing 10,000 copies of the colouring book to every constituency by the end of this month.

The colouring book is a collaborative effort between many local illustrators and has illustrations that are strongly associated with Singapore, such as local food, flowers and iconic buildings.

"Through the colouring of kampungs, orchids and various pictures, it will bring back sweet memories for the elderly to share with their families and the younger generation," said Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary (Education, Trade and Industry), who is also mayor of the South West Community Development Council.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline 'Colouring books for the elderly bring back sweet memories'. Print Edition | Subscribe