SINGAPORE – Involving older people in the community and rallying those who can afford to donate food and groceries to low-income families is how Jurong Spring is tackling the ‘silver tsunami’ and income inequality.
On Sunday, residents of low-income households lined up with their shopping carts to pick up rice, instant noodles, oil, Milo and fresh vegetables from the Jurong Spring Community Club. Volunteers put up chairs for people in line to sit and chat with each other while they wait their turn.
Among the beneficiaries was Madame Teo Kim Keew, 76, who even received the help of a volunteer to transport her food home.
The retired housekeeper, who has been living alone since her husband is in a nursing home, said: “I don’t need to do any shopping after getting food from the volunteers… It’s very well, they have coffee, bread, rice, everything i need. . They also always offer to help me carry things home.
Jurong RCMP MP Shawn Huang said most of the donated groceries came from residents of private and landed properties on the east side of the constituency near Chun Tin Road and Beauty World.
“They are very encouraged, enthusiastic to do something more. It’s not just about receiving, giving gives them a lot more satisfaction and allows them to say that they are really part of the community,” he added.
“We’re going through the money tsunami right now. We’re seeing a lot more seniors needing more help, needing more care. Hospitals and daycares are only part of the equation, but how can we activate the community as a whole to care for our elders collectively?”
The proportion of citizens aged 65 and over increased to 18.4% in 2022 from 11.1% in 2012, the annual Population in Brief report noted in September. It was 17.6% in 2021. By 2030, approximately one in four citizens, or 23.8%, will be aged 65 and over.
Mr Huang hosted the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, during a visit to Jurong’s spring as part of a community ministerial visit on Sunday.
Visits resumed last month after a two-year hiatus with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s visit to Yio Chu Kang. He said the visits will be led by ministers from the fourth generation of PAP leaders and will involve introducing residents to the Forward Singapore initiative.
Forward Singapore, launched in June, is a government exercise calling on Singaporeans to come up with ideas to shape and strengthen the nation’s social compact.
As part of Sunday’s visit, Dr Maliki toured Block 505 Jurong West Street 52 Market and Food Center before heading to Jurong Spring Community Club where activities for residents included senior bingo, a dance mass and a showcase on healthy lifestyles.
Huang said activities like bingo, which began virtually during the pandemic, aim to get older people who live alone out of their apartments to interact with volunteers and neighbors so they aren’t isolated. .
The healthy lifestyle showcase featured Diabetes Singapore; Jurong Spring Community Health Post, where National University Health System community nurses and staff provide medical support to residents; and the wellness social enterprise Fullhealth.