Changing seniors’ mindsets
The Centre For Seniors’ programme provides the tools to seniors so they can be self-aware and have meaningful lives.
BY: Eleanor Yap
Richard Tan, 66, has learned a lot about his strengths and weaknesses, and has gained a lot more confidence, all thanks to a three-day programme by non-profit Centre For Seniors (CFS) called LifeWork. The work-life transition programme addresses concerns about career, health and family during the different stages of life, especially at critical age junctions of 55, 62 and 67.
The programme also touches on re-employment, which is particularly important for Richard who has another year to prepare, with the Government having extended the re-employment age now to 67 years old. “The module on retirement transition helped me to understand that I can work for as long as I am still relevant and can bring value to employers. I should also look beyond what I do currently and explore other means of work such as part-time work, volunteer work, etc.”
Focusing on skills & interests
He added that the CFS programme encouraged him to hone his skills and interests. “I am good in administrative work, meticulous, hardworking, approachable, helpful and enjoy talking to people. As such I should develop my strengths in these areas so I have more work options should my organisation decides on retiring me. If that happens, perhaps I could do an administrative or customer service job in the hospitality industry, healthcare sector or even, Changi Airport since they are opening the fourth and fifth terminals.”
The father of three, who has been working at AIG as a purchasing administrator for 42 years, said he is still healthy and with his work experience, he hopes to “continue working for as long as I can as I don’t want to be a burden to my children”. He still has to support his family even though his wife works, and he has a housing loan of “a substantial amount” to pay off. Plus, he is paying the monthly charges for the nursing home where his 96-year-old mother has been staying at since 2010. She is bedridden and with dementia.
Doing the LifeWork programme last April, he hopes he can build closer relationships with his family, as well as his mother. He also would like to take up a foreign language such as Japanese or Korean using his SkillsFuture credits, which could help if he does someday go into the hospitality industry.
A nudge towards a healthier lifestyle
The CFS LifeWork programme has also been catalyst to getting him to exercise. “I started exercising to keep fit and I look at nutritional labels, avoiding foods with high sodium content.” Sharing his exercise routine, Richard said he does qigong for one hour from Monday to Thursday, a Zumba class for one hour every Wednesday, and jogs for an hour on Saturday and Sunday.
The LifeWork programme has a series of five workshops where participants go through a journey of discovery, finding their life goals, their individual strengths and weaknesses, and how to have a positive mindset on work and life. These workshops also cover the importance of health and staying active, and aim to highlight the importance of family and community engagement. The programme helps participants overcome their fears of uncertainly and navigate challenges in life with confidence, by learning ‘how-tos’ and using toolkits as well as other available resources. After they complete the programme, they can seek professional guidance from a CFS life coach where they can review their current state of affairs, explore their wants and identify the gaps, and create attainable action plans, amongst other things.
CFS LifeWork was rolled out last year as a pilot programme and had 389 participants between the ages of 40 and 70 from NTUC Unions and Government-related organisations. Of those, 86 percent have participated in at least three and more workshops. The programe also has a condensed version of the three-day programme where the workshops will be done in two days.
** For those 50 years and above, from April 1, the course (five workshops) is the usual S$300 and if you are an NTUC Union member, it is reduced to S$150. However, come July 1, additional funding available will kick in including NSA funding and the course could be S$57. The next three-day course starts April 24 to 26 at CFS in Bishan. Besides seniors signing up, the CFS LifeWork programme can also be a gift from employers to their long service and mature workforce. For any enquiries, e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6478 5019 or 6478 5015.