On 22nd July 2016, approximately 165 participants from MSD Pharma (Singapore) Pte Ltd and 60 elderly from SASCO Senior Citizens’ Home spent an afternoon together in Sentosa’s S.E.A Aquarium. It was part of MSD Singapore’s IT Bonding and Volunteering Day, in which the participants went through a fun-filled teambuilding session in the morning, followed by the volunteering segment in the afternoon.
The participants are split into groups of 2 or 3, accompanying the elderly into S.E.A. Aquarium. Each elderly was given a colorful passport which contains photos of the diverse species of marine animals that S.E.A Aquarium has. Whenever they spot and identify a marine animal, the participants will use an ink chop to indicate on their passport. This makes the whole session more engaging for the elderly, and they get to know the names of the marine animal as well.
Most of the elderly had difficulties in walking and had to be in wheelchairs. Throughout the whole session, the participants were more cautious and took the extra effort to make sure the elderly were well taken care of. Through this form of interaction, they showed a different side of them which fellow colleagues will not be able to see during normal work circumstances. Even though some of the participants had difficulties in communicating with the elderly due to language barriers, they were able to adapt quickly and communicate via hand gestures and body movement, which the elderly can see and understand. It was indeed a very heartwarming sight to witness.
All in all, it was a fruitful day for both the elderly and the participants. For many of the elderly, it was their first time in S.E.A Aquarium, and being up close to so many species of marine animals was definitely an eye-opener and a good experience for them. For the participants, it was a meaningful day away from their daily work routines. Albeit short, the time spent with the elderly is memorable and the takeaways are vast.