Young, old can work together to drive Singapore forward

It is good to know that there are people who hold a positive view on ageing ("'Zoom in on new opportunities that longevity brings'"; Thursday).

It is important for us to build an inclusive nation that leaves no one out, regardless of age.

The people in our society canbe placed into three main age groups - the young, adults and the elderly - and each of these groups has its role to play.

The young are the symbols of energy and hope for the nation's future; they are like a car's fuel, which we cannot progresswithout.

The adults represent strength and the nation's driving force,its engine which pushes us forward.

The elderly provide experience and a foundation; basically, they make up the other parts of the car.

Therefore, in order to maximise efficiency, these three groups have to work together.

The elderly have in them bags of experience, which adults probably would not be able to match.

That is why the elderly can play a part in the workforce.

One way is to allow them to take on positions of instructors or mentors in courses for adults.

The more tech-savvy or up-to-date seniors can help white-collar workers, while those who used to ply their trade in labour-intensive industries can supervise or advise blue-collar ones.

For the young to appreciate and realise how the elderly can actually be relied upon, more interaction time between thetwo age groups has to be generated.

Instead of the usual Community Involvement Programmes where students help seniors, we can organise simple sharing or learning sessions where both groups can have fun together or work together to accomplish some sort of objective - cooking, for instance.

Of course, all these plans can come to fruition only if there is sufficient support and if the elderly decide to take part.

Therefore, we have to let the elderly know that they are cherished by the nation, are needed and that they still have a big role to play in this ever-changing society of ours.

Henry Choong Kun Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Young, old can work together to drive Singapore forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe