On 14 Oct 2016, Ang Mo Kio residents were greeted by some 30 special visitors of varying mobility status as they navigated their way around the neighbourhood. Some wore sunglasses with hazy lens or walked with a quad stick and knee gaters, while others moved around on wheelchairs to get a feel of the challenges faced by vulnerable seniors with mobility constraints. The participants were members of senior management from different specialisations within the Civil Service, academia and the media. They were taking part in a “Town Audit” trail walk as part of the Leaders in Urban Governance Programme organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) and facilitated by TOUCH Caregivers Support (TCG).
“We are glad to partner TOUCH Caregivers Support to enable our training programme participants comprising urban planners and practitioners to have ground level experience in understanding the mobility issues faced by vulnerable seniors. Through the walking trail, we hope participants will gain useful insights that will make an impact in their respective areas of work. This learning platform also presents an excellent opportunity for participants with different expertise to work together and brainstorm solutions for a liveable and sustainable community, one in which residents can better connect with one another,” said Mr Aw Tuan Kee, Director, Centre for Liveable Cities, Ministry of National Development.
The experiential activity brought about a lively exchange of ideas and candid sharing of information regarding infrastructural, technological and accessibility issues affecting the safety and mobility of seniors outside their homes and their ability to connect within the community.
“We are glad to have the opportunity to share with the participants some useful insights based on our interactions with the residents here at Ang Mo Kio. It is our goal to build a sustainable eco-system of care where vulnerable seniors can come out of their homes freely and safely, supported by caring residents, hawkers, shopkeepers and volunteers. This visit is timely as it puts us a step closer towards our goal of enabling the community. We look forward to working with the relevant government bodies and community partners to better address ground issues that will support our efforts for seniors to age in place at home for as long as possible,” said Director for TOUCH Home Care and TCG, Mr Kavin Seow.
I found the experiential activity (trial walk) extremely useful as it allows one to fully appreciate how design of urban spaces and the detailing of walkways can really help enhance the mobility experience of elderly and physically challenged residents living in HDB estates. I think such an exercise will be very useful to architects and engineers working on building design projects,” said participant Dr. Johnny Wong, who is also the Group Director, Professional Engineer from the Building & Research Institute, Housing & Development Board.