Encourage more mingling between children and older folk

An elderly man walking hand-in-hand with his grandson at Toa Payoh, on March 14, 2017.
An elderly man walking hand-in-hand with his grandson at Toa Payoh, on March 14, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

Bridging the generation gap should be encouraged during a child's formative years (Kids learn to see seniors in different light; May 20).

Inter-generational programmes for pre-schoolers are important as these shape their thoughts and views towards older people as the children grow up.

Good work has been done by NTUC Health and Apex Harmony Lodge in promoting interactions between seniors and young children.

We need to change how society, especially children, views older people, who are often stereotyped as grouchy, frail, slow in gait and speech, and always dependent on those who are much younger.

To this end, inter-generational initiatives should be designed to challenge the attitudes and perceptions of younger people towards older people.

Pre-schoolers and primary school pupils should be encouraged to share their thoughts on the positive aspects of being old and what they perceive as the challenges faced by older people.

Moreover, such interactive programmes provide opportunities for children to learn from seniors in terms of life experiences, while the seniors can learn new technological knowledge from the gadget-savvy younger generation.

Inter-generational initiatives should be designed to challenge the attitudes and perceptions of younger people towards older people.

This is a win-win situation which bodes well for the future in our fast-ageing community.

It is true that adults who enjoy close inter-generational interaction are less prone to depression and tend to be happier with their life and more hopeful for the future.

Most of all, they have a sense of purpose.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'Encourage more mingling between children and older folk'. Print Edition | Subscribe