SINGAPORE - Retired timber worker Lim Thiam Teng calls the Montfort Care GoodLife! centre in Marine Parade his second home.
He cycles there thrice weekly, spending about an hour each time playing bingo or gardening with his friends and the volunteers.
The centre is where he learnt how to use WhatsApp to stay connected with his friends. The volunteers also help him read his letters that are in English, which he does not understand.
But going to the centre was a step forward for Mr Lim, 74, who took some time to warm up to the volunteers who befriended him at one of their home visits a few years ago.
After his retirement at age 65 and his wife's passing in 2011, he would sit idle at home, spending his time doing housework or listening to songs.
In 2014, he had a fall near his Marine Crescent home, which resulted in a leg injury and three operations.
His children - two daughters aged 51 and 50 and a son aged 46 - visit him occasionally with his six grandchildren.
"They have their own families and can spend only a few hours with me weekly or so," he said.
Montfort Care made regular weekly calls to check in on him during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over time, they built a good rapport and he started going to the centre, which serves more than 2,000 seniors aged 60 to 108.
Today, Mr Lim is a strong advocate of the centre.
"Seniors like me should get to know more people and take part in activities," he said in Mandarin. "It is easier to pass time, and we won't keep thinking about our problems."
The annual Population in Brief publication released on Tuesday said the proportion of citizens aged 65 and above has increased from 11.1 per cent in 2012 to 18.4 per cent in 2022. By 2030, around one in four citizens, or 23.8 per cent, will be aged 65 and above.
The publication by the National Population and Talent Division and partner agencies provides an update on Singapore's key population trends over the past year.
It said Singapore should be a home for its seniors, where they can age meaningfully with confidence and peace of mind.