Celebrate the joys that the very young and very old can bring each other at this upcoming multi-generation family event
My 76-year-old great-grandmother lives with my family and I. Despite her age and frail silhouette, thankfully she doesn’t suffer from any mental ailments and can still walk on her own without help from a walker, albeit slowly. As I age and thrust myself into the world to start adulting, I tend to forget that she’s getting older too and will eventually leave us someday – which is why I think spending every minute that I can with her is so important. My family’s not the very affectionate type, and frankly it takes a lot from each of us to deliberately show our love (ask every other Malay family and they might not admit it at first, but it’s pretty common… Then again, perhaps it’s an Asian thing?). So my daily conversations with my great-grandma (I call her ‘mak yot’) are usually only restricted to “Good morning. Have you eaten?” or “It feels a little chilly today, don’t you think?” and other niceties.
When we get the chance to go out as a family, though, I’m always hoping we can bring her along, especially if it involves my adorable 7-year-old and 2-year-old cousins (if there’s one thing she loves, it’s seeing those boys every weekend when they come to visit!). She gets some fresh air and the chance to leave the confines of home for a while, which can make her feel lonely.
Loneliness among the elderly is a growing problem. Nursing homes, for example, tend to be one of the most depressing places to be for the elderly despite assumptions that they’re more cheerful among other older folks. Interactions between the elderly and young children, however, have incredible effects — check out the world’s latest viral videos for ample evidence of that. The decision to hold a preschool within a nursing home in Seattle made a huge difference in the lives of the elderly, while this particular encounter between a 4-year-old and an elderly man who at the supermarket sparked a beautiful friendship. Just try not to cry, mama!
So how often do you see the whole family out with Grandma, Grandpa and the little ones in tow, mama? Started by social initiative 50Cube, Big Family Day Out is where you can get all three (or even four!) generations in one fun-loving place that’s safe for every age. 50Cube started in 2015 with the aim of recognising and remembering Singapore’s pioneer generation, by raising money that go toward Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home (LAMH) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA), which both house a growing number of elderly folks as our population ages.
Marina Barrage will play host to a carnival of food, games, entertainment and activities that will keep the whole fam occupied. The best part? Pets are welcome, and the venue is handicap-friendly! Kiddos will love the rides and bounce houses. Old school games and performances (getai, anyone?) will bring the older generation back to their prime years, while the young and health-conscious can join in the pop-up yoga and workout sessions. All the while there will be plenty of other vendors serving up delicious bites, giveaways happening on stage throughout the event and workshops to suit every age. Also check out the Great Singapore Garage Sale to snap up some awesome bargains!
On the same day, 500 people will aim to be the first to trek 50km across Singapore to raise $50,000 for LAMH and ADA at the 50cube Hike. The trek will start at 6am at Toa Payoh New Town Park, covering over 28 heritage sites, 4 National Parks and Singapore’s very own UNESCO heritage site – Singapore Botanic Gardens. The journey is estimated to take a whopping 1o to 14 hours before ending at Marina Barrage. Stick through to the end of the event to welcome them after their arduous walk, mama!
Far from your own family? Why not bring your little ones by to interact with Singapore’s elderly citizens? It’s sure to be a heartwarming day for everyone in attendance!