Seniors have a good time with SG50 package

Many enjoy free visits to Zoo and Bird Park; others take courses to enrich their lives

If the numbers are anything to go by, Singapore's golden oldies are having a ball of a time.

More than 27,000 people aged 60 or above visited the Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park last month, after gaining free entry as part of the SG50 Seniors Package, which offers special discounts to seniors as a token of appreciation.

Some 9,300 took up free courses offered in a lifelong learning scheme by the Council for Third Age, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement yesterday. The courses are so popular that more have been started for the remaining five months of the year.

And as of July 15, over 500,000 seniors had redeemed public transport vouchers worth $50 each. Those who have not claimed their vouchers can do so at TransitLink ticket offices or Add Value Machines until Dec 31 next year. Complimentary SG50 PAssion Cards, which entitle cardholders to discounts islandwide, were offered as well to citizens and permanent residents aged 55 and above. Between Feb 14 and June 30, over 128,000 cards were issued, said MOH.

Launched by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on May 22, the SG50 Seniors Package provides special discounts at selected institutions. It includes more than 200 benefits, such as discounted hotel stays, promotional dining deals and classes targeted at the elderly.

Retiree Julie Choo, 66, has seized the chance to enrol in a practical social gerontology programme.

"This course has taught me how to age meaningfully in my senior years," she said. "I learnt that age is just a number, and there are many things I can do proactively at my age, like serving the community."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2015, with the headline 'Seniors have a good time with SG50 package'. Print Edition | Subscribe