More Singaporeans are living longer and many of them want to live meaningful and healthy lives. Most, if not all, will not want to end up in nursing homes or in hospitals.
With the retirement age being extended slowly but surely by our government, it is imperative, that those who had retired earlier or lost their jobs due to retrenchment or failed businesses have opportunities to work once again. Working provides us with key social support. For being gainfully employed not only allows for financial security but also ensures that the person keeps their sanity – for an idle mind is often the devil’s workshop.
To ensure employability, it is absolutely necessary for the job seeker to be kept updated on the latest technological advances, be computer savvy and be able to multi-task. For multi-tasking is the buzzword these days.
To this end, I share the sentiments expressed by forum writer Paul Heng in his letter to The Straits Times, (“Hiring mature talent a win-win for firms, workers”; Saturday, September 3, 2016”)
With an aging population rapidly coming on-stream, coupled with the shortage of health care workers in nursing homes and community hospitals, it would be useful for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to employ retired nurses or those who are out of work– for one reason or the other. MOH should allow for freelance or locum work for workers who prefer shorter working hours as opposed to longer, draining hours can badly affect the employed seniors.
Helping to give love and care to the elderly sick in nursing homes can be so rewarding. Most certainly, retired nurses or seniors who have a love for the less fortunate and want to pay it forward can help the residents in the homes to spend their twilight years with some dignity. With the warmth and empathetic presence these re-employed nurses or retirees can bring, it will mean the difference between a dismal day and a bright one. Seniors are also more willing to show their gratitude. They appreciate what you’re doing for them and they don’t mind telling you so.
With the Government providing attractive subsidies for courses through the skills development fund, those seeking such meaningful jobs, should seize the opportunity to upgrade themselves as such jobs will always be in demand – not just here in Singapore, but in many parts of the world where there is also an ageing population which governments have to tackle.
Some of the simple, but by no means important tasks that health care workers in nursing homes or hospitals have to take on include taking patients’ vital signs, such as temperature and blood pressure, helping to clean, bathe and dress them, or serve the patients their meals as they help them eat.
Many of those who are currently not working are not keen to work full time, as they would prefer quality time with their own families and a more relaxed lifestyle. But if the pay is attractive and good incentives given, I am sure those who are out of work will be willing to consider working in such settings.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO