YOU may have spotted these unassuming superheroes. Clad in red and white polo shirts, Silver Generation (SG) Ambassadors volunteer their time by going door-to-door to explain government policies to elderly residents, understand their problems and connect them with relevant health and social support schemes… all to better seniors’ lives.
These Ambassadors first undergo rigorous classroom training, e-learning as well as on-the-job training conducted by the Silver Generation Office (SGO) under the Agency for Integrated Care. To date, there are over 3,000 SG Ambassadors in Singapore.
Here are six types of SG Ambassadors you will meet in your neighbourhood.
1. The energiser bunny – Super ‘on’!
Name: Christine Ng
“When I first became an SG Ambassador in 2017, I was very ‘on’ – I volunteered every weekday for many hours daily without feeling tired. By nature, I am very energetic and young at heart.
As an SG Ambassador, I always try my best to go the extra mile and help others. Last year, I accompanied a senior to the community centre to help her apply for public transport vouchers even though this was not part of my SG Ambassador duties.”
2. The Care Bear – Someone who listens to and cares for you
Name: Elizabeth Lim
“As an SG Ambassador, I am the ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground to identify issues that seniors face. Besides sharing government policies and helping seniors to apply for assistance, I also encourage them to keep active.
During a home visit last year, I discovered that my elderly neighbour was hospitalised following a kneecap surgery. After her discharge, I updated SGO on her situation and helped her to apply for several grants to help with her medical bills. I also bought her meals and groceries as well as accompanied her to medical appointments as she had mobility issues.”
3. The stress buster – Spreads joy and drives your worries away
Name: Satish Ramanlal Patel
“I am passionate about being an SG Ambassador because I care for seniors and want to give back to society. It’s very important to break the ice with seniors to help them open up. Some seniors are wary of us and may appear unfriendly, but it’s crucial to remain calm and assure them of our intentions.
During the Circuit Breaker, I focused on telecare services and spent approximately six hours each day calling seniors to allay their worries and check if they were coping well at home. I believe they could sense my sincerity and ‘hear’ my smile over the phone!”
4. The Yoda – Calm, cool, collected and wise
Name: Loke Lai Fong
“I never enjoyed television dramas, but since becoming an SG Ambassador in 2017, I have been watching Mandarin and dialect dramas on the local channels to better connect with the Pioneer Generation. It helps to break the ice as I can ask them “Ler kuah simi hee?” (“What show are you watching?” in Hokkien) and chat about local actresses like Zoe Tay!
Being an SG Ambassador can be challenging. Sometimes, the seniors shun our engagement, but I believe we should continue to serve wholeheartedly and treat them with sincerity. I’m thankful that most seniors are friendly. When I bump into them at the market, they can recognise me and will chat with me or ask me questions about the various government schemes and services. I’m also thankful for a good partner who conducts the home visits with me.”
5. The handyman – Always there to lend a hand
Name: Lionel Cheah
“One thing I’ve learnt from interacting with seniors is that many are capable and independent, so we shouldn’t assume that they are needy. I’ve also learnt to explain government policies in simple terms and ask effective questions to better understand seniors’ needs.
I enjoy going the extra mile. Together with several SG Ambassadors, I helped source for a TV set for a senior living in a rental flat. We also helped a wheelchair-bound senior clean her living room. These were beyond my SG Ambassador duties, but you can always count on me to help!”
6. The teleporter – A busy bee who finds time to volunteer
Name: Mohamad Fasli Bin Md Yunus
“My schedule is usually packed… I work full-time, look after my family of five and volunteer as an SG Ambassador on some weekday evenings and weekends. So I have to manage my time properly. Fortunately, SGO offers a flexible arrangement and my Division Lead rosters me for duties based on my availability.
I enjoy hearing the seniors’ stories. Some of them don’t have anyone to talk to and are very lonely; others are not in contact with their children. I will gladly lend them a listening ear.”
Learn more about being an SG Ambassador at https://www.aic.sg/about-us/be-sga-volunteer and sign up as one today!
Article published on 23/3/2021