New portal helps seniors get info on govt schemes

Madam Koh Seow Kim, 86 (centre), getting a hands-on tour of a mock-up studio flat at the Centre For Seniors open house in Bishan yesterday. The centre will be holding roadshows every two months to inform seniors about the new website, and teach less
Madam Koh Seow Kim, 86 (centre), getting a hands-on tour of a mock-up studio flat at the Centre For Seniors open house in Bishan yesterday. The centre will be holding roadshows every two months to inform seniors about the new website, and teach less computer-savvy seniors how to use it.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Website created to solve problem of seniors' low awareness of initiatives that benefit them

After feedback from seniors that it was hard to track the raft of government schemes meant to benefit them, a new website has been launched as a one-stop source of information.

At www.silverschemes.sg, seniors can choose from three age groups - 50 to 54, 55 to 67, or 68 and above - to view a list of schemes available to them. The schemes are further categorised into four areas: financial, work, social and health.

Each scheme has its own webpage, which contains a summary of the scheme, eligibility criteria and a link to more information.

The website was created by the Centre For Seniors, and launched yesterday by CFS patron Lim Boon Heng at the centre's open house in Bishan. Mr Lim, a former Cabinet minister, is also chairman of Temasek Holdings and NTUC Enterprise.

Set up in 2006, CFS is a non-profit, voluntary welfare organisation that manages training programmes, activities and projects that help promote an active ageing culture.

The idea for a one-stop website came after a CFS survey - conducted last year and involving 140 seniors above 50 - found that most respondents lacked knowledge of government schemes. Many of them said it was a challenge to keep tabs on the many schemes available, which are located on different government websites.

There are currently about 50 government schemes for seniors.

"The low awareness of government schemes can be improved by pushing this website to seniors instead of having them to pull information from several sources," said CFS executive director Lim Sia Hoe.

Ms Lim added that CFS will continue to hold roadshows every two months to inform seniors about the website, and teach less computer-savvy seniors how to use it.

While the website is now available only in English, Ms Lim said CFS plans to make it available in other languages in the next six months.

There are also plans to expand the platform to include more skills training, volunteering and employment opportunities for seniors, she said.

The website's end goal, Ms Lim added, is to provide a single holistic and integrated platform for seniors.

Adjunct teacher Corrine Liu, 65, who visited the website, said she found it easy to navigate, and was able to find information about schemes like the senior volunteerism initiative by RSVP Singapore, which she did not know about before.

However, Mrs Liu said the descriptions of the schemes could be made shorter and simpler still.

She said: "Many of the schemes benefit low-wage earners, who might find it a struggle to read or understand parts of the website."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'New portal helps seniors get info on govt schemes'. Print Edition | Subscribe