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Bridging Generations: Preschoolers and Seniors Connect in Heartwarming Initiative
2024-02-19 05:28:00

Bridging Generations: Preschoolers and Seniors Connect in Heartwarming Initiative

In an age where technology often divides generations, a heartwarming initiative in Singapore is breaking barriers and connecting preschoolers and elderly residents.

By Sng Ler Jun

A remarkable intergenerational bonding programme by two local co-operatives — NTUC Health and NTUC First Campus — is bringing joy and fostering meaningful connections between the young and old.

NTUC Health, in collaboration with NTUC First Campus, first introduced the inter-generational programme involving seniors in NTUC Health’s day centres or active ageing hubs with preschoolers from NTUC First Campus’ My First Skool in 2014.

These intergenerational bonding swiftly became an important cornerstone for both co-operatives to bridge the generation gaps.

Under the programme, seniors are sometimes teach the children how to make certain crafts, such as simple artwork or even mooncakes. Other times, they play games with the younglings at the centres.

For these seniors, especially those with dementia, interacting with the children help make NTUC Health’s care programme more meaningful and engaging.

Children also stand to gain from such interactions. As they develop new skill sets, they are imbibed with the essential values of compassion, respect and concern for their senior counterparts, both in the community and in their own homes.

When the pandemic hit, there was a moment of concern that these beloved sessions might come to a halt. Through quick thinking and some adjustments, the programme transitioned online, allowing both the young and old to continue their interactions.

Cheryl Lim, Assistant Manager of Senior Day Care at NTUC Health, said: "Technology has enhanced the joy of learning as seniors and children, including staff, have had to think out of the box and pick up simple digital skills to continue engaging with each other."

Going beyond arts and crafts, this virtual format introduced other activities and games, such as Pictionary, charades, and even virtual tours. These virtual programmes are facilitated by staff at Senior Day Care who had received training to ensure a seamless transition.

Today, this inter-generational programme continues in a hybrid manner, combining physical and virtual interactions. More notably, NTUC Health has also enlisted the support from corporate partners, including National Museum of Singapore and National Gallery Singapore, to create virtual art tours for both the seniors and the youths. NTUC Health has since signed an Memoradum of Understanding with the National Heritage Board to enhance the seniors’ social well-being through immersive programmes at the National Museum of Singapore.  

This heartwarming initiative proves that age is no barrier to forming connections and creating lasting memories. It offers a glimpse into a future where generations learn from each other and share in the joy of companionship, reminding us all that intergenerational bonds are priceless treasures worth cherishing.

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SNCF is the apex body of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, the apex body represents majority of co-operative members in Singapore through its affiliated co-operatives.