New programme to educate elderly residents on environmental concerns

Monica Kotwani Channel NewsAsia 24 Nov 13;

SINGAPORE: A new programme hopes to educate elderly residents in central Singapore on environmental concerns.

The programme is a joint collaboration between Central Singapore Community Development Council and the National Environment Agency

The Senior Citizens Outreach and Engagement (SCORE) programme was launched on Sunday at City Square Mall in Kitchener Road.

Under the programme, volunteers will go to the homes of elderly residents and educate them on issues such as reducing trash, anti-littering and dengue prevention.

The ambassadors, as they are known, are from the CDCs partner Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and Senior Activity Centres (SACs).

So far, four VWOs and SACs have come on board including the Fei Yue Senior Activity Centre and Comfort Keepers - a company that provides home care services for seniors.

Preparations for the programme started in June, and about 80 volunteers have been trained.

Dr Lam Pin Min, Vice Chairman of Central Singapore CDC and MP for Sengkang West, said: "With the dengue epidemic still ongoing, we don't know how long it will take. Through this initiative we can also take the opportunity to educate senior citizens about the hazards of stagnant water, how to do the 'Mozzie Wipeout', and as a result, we try to put in as much effort to bring down the incidence of dengue."

Central CDC said those aged 55 years and above make up a third of the resident population.

And they do not have access to the internet or are hampered in their communication due to a language barrier.

Ms Sally Benjamin, a SCORE ambassador, said: "There's a different way of telling them. Maybe through show and tell, and also in dialects rather than in English and Mandarin. That's the way."

The programme was launched at the CDC's and NEA's Clean and Green Singapore Carnival, and hopes to reach out to about 10,000 seniors over a year.

One of the key features of the Clean and Green Singapore is a trail that allows members of the public a look into key environmental concerns.

And traditionally it's been held outdoors by the various CDCs, but for the first time, it's being held indoors at a mall.

The CDC said the mall was chosen to reach out to more people, mainly shoppers.

Dr Lam added: "We have four different zones that looks at anti-littering, dengue campaign, recycling, so it's a good opportunity for people who are just out there, doing shopping, and at the same time, (they can) just walk around, look at the exhibits and get educated about all these issues."

The trail will go on for a week.

- CNA/de