Promoting volunteerism and assisting seniors with their retirement needs would help address the twin demands of creating deeper community bonds and addressing the imperatives of an ageing society in Singapore. The upcoming Budget statement, to be delivered on Feb 18, should make the dimensions of this initiative clearer. The aim would be to lend support to Singaporeans to lead fulfilling lives at every stage of their existence. Thus, volunteerism could ripen with age itself.
There are many ways in which senior citizens can spend their golden years fruitfully. In the United States, for example, the Senior Corps has attracted more than 200,000 Americans through a variety of programmes that include tutoring and mentoring students, assisting and caring for the elderly, and supporting relief teams when disasters strike. Corps members make a practical difference by providing one-on-one time to students in busy classrooms, helping the elderly to stay independent and remain in their homes, driving individuals to doctor's appointments, filling in for caregivers and families who need a break, helping military veterans find jobs, and tackling environmental issues.