Speech by Professor Cheong Hee Kiat at Time of Your Life Celebration 2022


Mr Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information &
Ministry of National Development,

Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board,

Guests and friends from the industry,

Ladies and gentlemen.

1. Good morning to all! I am pleased to welcome you to the 7th edition of Time of Your Life Celebration jointly organised by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and the National Library Board (NLB) to celebrate our senior adults. This is held in tandem with the International Day of Older Persons.

2. The theme for this year’s celebration is: Connections are important in linking the communities and strengthening the social bonding to be more inter-connected. The theme emphasizes the desirability and benefits of various parties – government, industry, innovators, social groups, the young and even the old – coming together, connecting with one another to bring good to the elderly, connecting with the elderly themselves, through activities, use of technology, fostering relationships and interactions between the elderly and the rest of the population, building understanding of the needs and aspirations of the elderly so they can be better served. We are building an eco-system, and connecting to take a holistic approach. We will see a variety of activities being conducted towards this end.

One involves SUSS’s collaboration with NLB which has been sustained for several years and continues to bear fruit and impacting the community for greater good. Besides curating a series of interesting online and onsite programmes in public libraries across Singapore throughout the month of October, this year we have several experts to share their insights on an increasingly important topic – how new and evolving Care Framework and support systems will have to be well complemented by technology seamlessly.

Technology will be a key feature in the lives of our elderly, enriching and enabling. But, as evident in the pandemic, technology can also be bewildering to our seniors, and the fact is that they will continue to be confronted with rapid technological disruptions. There is pressing need for us to further advance our knowledge and understanding of digital technologies and their potential to provide social and emotional enrichment for our aged care framework and deployment.

3. Still on technology, SUSS and our technology partners will participate in the tech bazaar at Toa Payoh NLB on 29 and 30 Oct 2022 to showcase how assistive technologies can help older persons and their caregivers. SUSS and NLB organised a similar exhibition in May this year and it was well received by the older adults and their grandchildren. Many of them took selfies with the social robots, Lovot and Paro – both designed to improve the quality of lives of patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognition disorders. This time, we will be exhibiting additional new technology and devices for the older persons and their caregivers.

4. Then, there is learning to be done to bring awareness of various matters related to seniors. Useful talks and seminars on topics such as dysphagia, sleep disorders, self-care, building communities, evolving banking trends, and managing emergencies at home will be presented in this month-long learning festival!

5. For its part, SUSS has been pushing the agenda for active living for the elderly and tangible care and support for them. As part of our CSR activities with corporates, the Gerontology team also worked with Southwest CDC and Toshiba to donate 15 washing machines and other electrical appliances to three nursing homes and one eldercare centre. SUSS Gerontology faculty members, students and alumni actively contribute and participate in community work to serve the silver population. I am heartened that SUSS recently received the Community Spirit (Merit) award from the People’s Association in recognition of our work with older persons during the pandemic.

6. Away from Singapore, SUSS was involved in the Age Well Japan seminar to stream sessions from Shibuya QWS, a Scramble Society which gathers groups regardless of age or specialty in Japan that creates value for the community. The purpose is to have our Singapore audience learn topics about ageing well with innovative ideas in Super Ageing Japan.

7. It takes many minds, hands and hearts to come together to help the elderly live well, meaningfully and with dignity. Today, all of you have assembled to share, learn, network and collaborate for the betterment of the older persons in the community. I hope that even as you do that, you will benefit personally, and beat a stronger heart for the seniors. Finally, let me thank the organising team for working very hard to bring this month-long activity to us, and your attendance will surely give them much joy and satisfaction.

8. Thank you.

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