What are the elders to do?

By Bryan Choo

Last week I went down to do some filming to raise awareness for an important Singapore issue, it was to highlight the fact that there are 35,000 elderly living alone in Singapore today. This number includes the elderly who are in poor health, disabled, have been abandoned by their children and those that need help to get by day to day. Just last year, a 81-year-old man believed to have fallen in the kitchen was found dead by his neighbours in his Jurong Flat. And this is only one of the cases reported, I am sure there are more like this which don’t reach the newsstands.

This video was made to recap our day at Project Homeworks which features a 100 year old elderly who is wheel chair bound and requires help to get by day to day from volunteers. Project Homeworks is an initiative started by Habitat for Humanity to improve the living condition of the elderly, the sick and the physically-challenged living at one-room flats all over the island. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organisation that was started in 1976 and they envision a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

This particular area in Kampong Glam was more fortunate as it had Peace Connect, a neighbourhood link that provides support for these elderly citizens which include food and help. I could see it really serving as a stronghold for all these ederly and I was so glad to see such a support system in place. But it is really disheartening to learn that although the government does subsidize some of the expenditure, Peace Connect depends on goodwill donations from Holy Trinity Church to survive. I wish there were more elderly support facilities like this in place for Singaporeans, and I wish more budget was set aside for this. To me, I feel its the government’s responsibility to provide such facilities. The worrying thing is there are so many old neighbourhoods in Singapore WITHOUT Peace Connect! What is going to be happen to all these other elderly who have no support? To those too old to work, sickly, wheel chair bound or who have been abandoned by their children?

And as our population grows, the number of elderly living alone is projected to increase to 83,000 living alone in 2030. I hope more awareness can be made for this issue.


Bryan Choo is the founder of the local review site, The Smart Local