Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Adviser to Tampines GROs, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you for taking the time to attend the official opening of Pacific Activity Centre at Tampines Geeenwood. This is the fifth of 12 such facilities we have committed to operate as part of Pacific Healthcare's community outreach program.
Health and Aging
As far back as 1946, the World Health Organization defined health as "not merely freedom from disease or infirmity but a state of total physical, mental and social well-being". This definition cuts across all ages and national boundaries but is especially relevant in Singapore where limitations of land and resource amplifies the problems of a rapidly aging population.
The initiative by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to establish Senior Activity Centre is thus both enlightened and timely as it addresses the underlying needs of the elderly and helps our seniors to age in place and remain within the community for as long as possible, until such time when care at a nursing home is necessary.
Back in 2003, Pacific Healthcare opened its first nursing home at Bukit Merah. Today, together with our second home in Bukit Panjang, we care for more than 350 elderly residents, many of whom have dementia or who require extensive nursing and physical rehabilitation.
We view our activity centres as an extension of our services which includes home nursing, as well as non-residential wellness and health promotion programs. Together with our partners, we have also established kidney dialysis centres, as well as chiropractic，traditional Chinese medicine and dental clinics in order to bring healthcare services closer to the community.
Studies have shown that preventive healthcare can help delay the onset of age-related health issues, including dementia and depression. To this end, the exercise programs and community based social activities organized by our facilitators will go a long way towards achieving our objective of ensuring that our seniors remain physically fit, mentally active and socially connected.
Our aim also is for our centres to become hives of activity within each precinct, building bridges between neighbours and in so doing, strengthen the social fabric of our community. So far, the turnout at our various events have been very positive. We will continue to reach out to residents to ensure that more such social events are organized and that the activity centre remains a big part of their lives.
Paying Back & Paying Forward
This year marks our 50th year of Nation building and for those of us from the generation of baby boomers, we have seen Singapore progress manifold. I am indeed thankful for the many opportunities and benefits that I have received and proud to be a Singaporean. My own personal success in the field of dentistry is in no small part due to Singapore’s reputation for safety, discipline and excellence.
While the health and socio-economic indicators of Singapore’s progress have been very positive, there is always room for further improvement. However, building a truly inclusive society with the relevant safety nets require more than just Government intervention. It takes the collective effort of every able bodied person to contribute whatever we can to help improve the lives of our fellow men. For those of us who have benefitted, it is both our duty and responsibility to give back to Society, be it by material means or simply by contributing our time. My colleagues and I remain committed to working with the various grassroots organisations to achieve our mission of making each Activity Centre the Heart of a Healthy, Happy and Harmonious Community.
Thank you for being a part of our opening.