Society has much to gain from inter-generational programmes

Senior citizens hang out at a bench next to a playground in Bukit Batok Central as a child plays on the swing.
Senior citizens hang out at a bench next to a playground in Bukit Batok Central as a child plays on the swing.PHOTO: ST FILE

Inter-generational programmes can have a positive impact not just on the elderly and the children involved, but also in the accruing of benefits for society in the long term (Kids learn to see seniors in different light, May 20).

Such programmes where the elderly and pre-schoolers interact have far-reaching synergistic benefits and can help manage Singapore's ageing population.

I have no doubt that children can bring much joy and love to seniors.

This brings to mind the empty nest syndrome which many seniors face when their children grow up and lead independent lives. For such seniors, the feeling of being needed again can make them feel "alive" once more. And these seniors have a wealth of experience and wisdom which can be imparted to children from an early age.

The societal benefits are arguably the biggest upside to these programmes.

Children are the future of Singapore. With these programmes, we can create a society with greater empathy and respect for the elderly. The seniors that undergo these programmes are likely to be more active and thus lead healthier lives, being steered away from various mental illnesses that are more likely to affect seniors who are lonely.

I do hope there will be more of such programmes for the elderly and children to interact. It will also be good to have people from all walks of life contributing towards a more elderly-inclusive society. After all, what we enjoy today are the fruits of the labour of older generations.

Benjamin Lee Wei Ming

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'Society has much to gain from inter-generational programmes'. Print Edition | Subscribe