More opportunities soon for senior volunteerism: Halimah

President Halimah Yacob noted that seniors are likely to be able to volunteer more frequently and over a longer period of time as they may have fewer duties and responsibilities at home.
President Halimah Yacob noted that seniors are likely to be able to volunteer more frequently and over a longer period of time as they may have fewer duties and responsibilities at home.PHOTO: RSVP SINGAPORE

Wanted: Baby boomers to give back to society.

Newly appointed national centre of excellence in senior volunteerism, RSVP Singapore, will reach out to more of those in their mid-50s or 60s to encourage them to volunteer with local charities and other organisations such as hospitals.

It will also work with other organisations to provide these seniors with more volunteering opportunities, President Halimah Yacob announced yesterday.

Speaking at the RSVP Singapore's 20th anniversary charity dinner at the Marriott Tang Plaza hotel, Madam Halimah said that seniors are likely to be able to volunteer more frequently and over a longer period of time as they may have fewer duties and responsibilities at home. "They really are a very important and rich source for us to tap to do volunteerism in Singapore," said Madam Halimah.

Currently, about 60 per cent of RSVP Singapore's 2,500 senior volunteers are in their mid-50s or 60s, said RSVP Singapore's chairman Koh Juay Meng.

The organisation will have to tailor its programmes to better suit this group of new volunteers, as they have very different needs and wants from the previous generation, said Mr Koh.

"They are likely to be more IT savvy, higher educated, and have a more stable income, so they will come in with a different perspective of volunteerism. What we need to do is curate different programmes to suit this group of people," he said.

  • 60%

    Proportion of RSVP Singapore's 2,500 senior volunteers who are in their mid-50s or 60s.

Some volunteers at the event welcomed the news and said it would help entice more seniors to volunteer.

Long-time volunteer Marie Mattar, 75, said: "As the percentage of seniors is getting higher, I think it is very important that we get more of them to volunteer.

"We don't want them to retire and do nothing at home. Our aim is to get them to come out and continue to be part of society, and the best way to do that is to volunteer."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2018, with the headline 'More opportunities soon for senior volunteerism: Halimah'. Print Edition | Subscribe