Job portal for seniors, intergenerational cafe among ideas to improve ageing experience in S'pore

SINGAPORE – A specially tailored platform to help older people find meaningful employment could do the job to improve the ageing experience in Singapore.

Other proposals made during a Citizens’ Panel on Saturday (Oct 23) include a buddy system for senior workers, an intergenerational storytelling scheme and a cafe with a focus on intergenerational bonding.

The panel was held by the health, manpower, and culture, community and youth ministries as part of efforts by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing to refresh the existing Action Plan on Successful Ageing that was launched in 2015.

The committee wants to ensure the plan continues to be relevant to current and future senior citizens and address changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those aged 65 and above in Singapore make up 11.7 per cent of the population, according to mid-2021 estimates.

Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli attended the fourth and final panel session on Saturday, where nine projects along the themes of employment and volunteerism were presented.

A total of 46 participants in the panel spent four weekends on the four sessions developing their ideas with input from senior citizens, industry experts and government representatives.

The panel will submit its proposals to the Government, which will review and determine how to provide implementation support.

Mr Masagos said: “Through your presentations, I can see your passion, thoughtfulness and hard work put into shaping Singapore to become a society where our seniors age well and contribute meaningfully at the workplace and in the community.”

One in four resident workers in Singapore last year is aged 55 and above.

One proposal from Saturday’s session is to introduce an age-friendly accreditation scheme that would encourage companies to adopt workplace practices to improve corporate branding and attract senior jobseekers.

Older job hunters and employees may have different needs such as caregiving duties or health issues, and require more work flexibility, said healthcare administrator Benjamin Chung, 26, one of the participants in the panel.

He added: “More importantly, it’s for employers to realise that senior workers are not just ‘good to have’ but an eventual ‘must-have’ given the ageing population, so employers should start catering to them now.

“We want to encourage them to take the first step towards a more senior-inclusive environment for senior workers.”

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Another suggestion is to roll out an online portal that also has a physical office, that seniors can tap for career guidance and resources.

One of the projects looking to provide volunteering opportunities for seniors is a storytelling scheme that will train them to better engage the younger generation.

Another idea brewed up is a cafe where each guest would be matched with someone of a different generation to socialise with.

Mr Masagos said: “As a panel, you have driven a narrative that ageing brings potential rather than challenges. Because our seniors can contribute much to our society.”

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