'Lose' your senses at Science Centre's new interactive exhibition on ageing

Health minister Gan Kim Yong at the Dialogue With Time - Embrace Ageing exhibition.
Health minister Gan Kim Yong at the Dialogue With Time - Embrace Ageing exhibition.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - An interactive exhibition on the effects of growing old will open to the public at the Science Centre Singapore on Saturday (Nov 11).

Called Dialogue With Time - Embrace Ageing, the latest permanent exhibition there was launched by Science Centre Singapore and the Ministry of Health on Friday. It is also supported by the Ministry of Education.

The exhibition sees ageing-related challenges brought to the fore to visitors of all ages, encouraging understanding, empathy and preparedness for the inevitable process, said the Science Centre.

In a first for the Science Centre, senior guides will take visitors on hour-long tours through the exhibition. There are 32 senior guides in all, between the ages of 65 and 85. 

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, who was at the launch on Friday, said: "Through the exhibition... we hope that visitors of all ages can come to better understand and appreciate that ageing is... part and parcel of life, and, in fact, starts from the day we are born."

By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be 65 years old and above - twice the number now.

The exhibition has three zones - the Science of Ageing, Dialogue with Time and Science & Technology.

Key highlights are Dialogue Rooms, where visitors get to interact and engage in discussions with the senior guides. The seniors first talk about their own experiences with ageing, before leading a "happy ageing" game, where visitors can pick from photo cards to define their own view of ageing.

In the Yellow Room, visitors can take their pick from many games to simulate the loss of senses as people age.

In the Pink Room next door, inspiring stories of five active senior citizens are featured as short videos, where they talk about topics such as re-employment and finding love online.

The senior guides were shortlisted from about 380 applications. Selection criteria included communication skills, teamwork and attitudes towards ageing.

Mr Ho Jin Yong, a retired engineer from the Ministry of Defence, is one of the exhibition's senior guides. "You cannot stop your body from ageing, but your mind can stay young if you study and stay active," the 69-year-old said.

"As a guide, I got to know many people who are also around my age. We get to share our stories with younger people and try to get them to think ahead. In fact, that's one of the best things about this job."

Mr Gan said that together with the Science Centre, the Ministry of Health hopes to have 10,000 school students visit the exhibition annually.

"Ageing is not something to be feared, but brings with it opportunities in longevity," said Mr Gan.