Besides blogging on quality of healthcare and or I as I say, “This & That & What Ails”, I also serve as an honorary volunteer DC in some corner of Singapore 🙂
My committee members and I will end our 2 year stint come March 2014 and I must say, I feel proud to have chaired a committee that looked into the needs of seniors. Last evening as we rolled through our accolades, I smiled happily that our flagship projects have been rolled to the ground and the funny names (I am good at creating taglines 🙂 ) given to gardening clubs (I call it Green Thumbs & Toes Program), Superminds, Seniors Camp etc etc was aimed at giving creativity to programs that would otherwise fail to distinct itself from others.
Our pet project was a “taboo” one as it dealt with dying & death! I remember speaking gingerly to a statesman about it and I could feel the hesitation and I knew where this gent was coming from – if it was not pitched properly or carried out in the most dignified manner, it would rile some feathers. Our society is largely Asian and many do not like talking about death or dying though we know it is our ultimate end. Besides it was ill omen to broach the subject of dying when one is in the pink of health.
Therein lies our challenge as our committee of 6 ( whom I shall call A, B, E, P, R & ME) pitched our brains to “de-stigmatize” this. I remember coining “Loving Hearts, Beautiful Minds” to de-stigmatize mental illness and I came up with the suggestion of “Living Graciously, Leaving Triumphantly” – this drew much excitement amongst our little group as we bantered on ideas as to how to make it work – i.e. without making our subject taboo to begin with.
Besides financial planning, making out a will and estate planning, one of the key topics we felt that many seniors felt or feared was the religious rites to be conducted when the time came for them to leave triumphantly. But this was not spoken of! Further, as a committee we respected the need to be diplomatic and respect the different cultural ethnicity of the people. Our best offered suggestion as a solution was to provide linkages for the different major religious groups as a resource for the seniors should they require assistance in this area. We were not the best qualified people to advise on this and it is best left to personal choices and not advocated by us.
Last night when we saw the statistics of the commitment from the ground on this topic, we achieved yet another accolade! Proud times indeed for our little group.
If we looked back at what we achieved in the 2 years since our appointment, we have spear-headed quite a few flagship items and most importantly, it benefitted the ground – our silver generation or call it in plain speak – senior citizens.
I laughed when we saw the T-shirts printed for the seniors whereby a tagline said “Active Seniors” – again I always wanted to dilute stigmatizing “seniors” and suggested that it should follow with “…..just getting there” or “….not quite there yet” – a tongue in cheek pun of words I would say!
Humour is the best medicine I think and humour can be used in many ways to lessen hard selling tactics. By making it fun, it attracts Seniors to want to wear the T-shirt or make them proud to stand up and say, “hey I am an active senior and I am proud of it!”
I am proud to walk away from this committee knowing I have made a difference to the lives of the seniors, albeit I must say, a small part but I sincerely hope it will go a long way to continue to make an impact to the many lives of the growing pool of seniors in Singapore.
As for the next term of service, let’s see what is next! If I have to take on duties to serve my country, then I must do it with heart, soul and mind – I dislike doing a half-baked job. I like leaving my paw print somewhere meaningful 🙂
I would like to think we did not too badly…………….