Seniors in nursing home celebrate National Day with carnival

The seniors from All Saints Home in Jurong East sang National Day songs, belted out classic Malay and Chinese tunes, and ate traditional snacks during the mini carnival brought to their door step. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Almost 200 seniors celebrated National Day with a trip down memory lane at a mini carnival brought to their door step on Friday (Aug 3).

The seniors from All Saints Home in Jurong East sang National Day songs, belted out classic Malay and Chinese tunes, and ate traditional snacks at booths, as they soaked in the festival-like atmosphere.

The home is one of 15 nursing homes and community hospitals that will enjoy daytime carnivals complete with food, games and even a photo booth to celebrate National Day.

ACE Seniors executive director Tang Wai San said that every year, there are more than 90,000 seniors who are unable to watch the National Day Parade live or celebrate it with their families. The social enterprise is the main organiser of the celebrations at the homes and hospitals.

"We celebrate National Day with them to engage them and to show that we care for our fellow citizens," said Ms Tang, 64.

The events are part of an initiative called 18 Days of Giving, A Lifetime of Caring, organised by SG Cares and the NDP18 Committee. It aims to get more Singaporeans to volunteer. More than 200 activities will be held on 18 days, between July 14 and Aug 26.

More than 100 corporates, public agencies and community groups are involved and the public is invited to join in too.

Besides seniors, beneficiaries also include people living with HIV, students with special needs and low-income families.

Ms Charmaine Leung, managing director of Community Chest, said the initiative is another way to give back and celebrate National Day. "In the past, we talked a lot about the kampung spirit. Let us reignite the kampung spirit, care for each other and celebrate together."

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu attended the celebrations at All Saints Home.

"As we celebrate Singapore's 53rd birthday, let us remember the contribution of our pioneers. Their hard work and effort towards nation building have brought Singapore to where we are today," said Ms Fu.

Another activity held on Friday was a collaboration between Standard Chartered Bank and Patient Care Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Volunteers from the bank made National Day-themed handicrafts with patients living with HIV.

Bank employee Joyce Foo, a long-time volunteer, said the experience was humbling. "When the patients teach us how to make the handicrafts, they feel empowered as well. It brings them out of their shell," said Ms Foo, 34.

The handicrafts are on sale at pushcarts around Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Other activities in the initiative include cleaning and improving the homes of beneficiaries living in rental flats, befriending vulnerable seniors and families, delivering food and necessities to low-income and single-parent households, and volunteering at sports-based events.

Said Ms Leung: "Beyond the 18 days, we hope people will embrace giving as part of their lives."

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