Designing for Life: Healthy Towns for All Ages

Every Wednesday morning, a group of about 40 seniors would gather patiently at the precinct pavilion at Blk 176 Edgedale Plains, Punggol. Laughter and music soon fill the air, as they begin their exercise as a group. Often, curious onlookers will stop to observe the scene –  and some eventually end up joining the group workout!  

Julie Poh, 68, and Tan Siew Geok, 70, are members of this exercise group. These senior citizens – or rather, senior fit-izens – share with us why they believe in staying active at their age, showing us that age is nothing but a number. 

Julie (left) and Siew Geok (right)
Julie (left) and Siew Geok (right)

Hi Siew Geok and Julie! You are part of a group of seniors who do stretch band exercises together. Can you tell us more about it?

Julie: I joined because I wanted to have the chance to meet and interact with different people, and be able to get active at the same time. The group is quite big. Our instructor makes it really fun for us, and we can all laugh and exercise together. It feels like we are on a holiday with a tour group.

Siew Geok: Most of us in the group are neighbours, and I really enjoy being able to exercise with them!    

Sound like the both of you really enjoy exercising!

Siew Geok: I have to take care of my husband, who is wheelchair-bound. So it’s important for me to exercise and stay healthy.

Julie: These exercise sessions keep us physically and mentally active! I especially like that we are able to exercise together as a group, because we can motivate one another to keep moving. There is also a strong sense of community among our exercise group.

Julie and Siew Geok believe in staying active at their age
Julie and Siew Geok believe in staying active at their age

Besides exercising, what do you do to relax in your neighbourhood?

Siew Geok: I take walks around my neighbourhood. Sometimes I bump into my neighbours, and we would usually catch up over a chat under the shady trees in the neighbourhood.

Julie: Yes! The weather is hot and humid, but the greenery here keeps us cool. I also like that we have all these exercise facilities right at our doorstep. It makes it more convenient for us to take a quick stretch or workout.

Trees along the pathway
Ample trees along the pathways provide shade
Lush greenery in an HDB neighbourhood
Lush greenery is in abundance at Siew Geok’s and Julie’s neighbourhood

Siew Geok: I hope there can be more exercise facilities that are suitable for those with disabilities, like my husband, so that they too can have more opportunities to be active, even in their wheelchair.

Fitness corner at HDB neighbourhood
With a fitness corner right at their doorstep, Siew Geok and Julie
find it convenient to exercise and stay active

To support the physical, social, and mental well-being of HDB residents like Siew Geok and Julie, HDB recently unveiled its Designing for Life (DFL) roadmap. Comprising three key pillars – Live Well, Live Smart, Live Connected – this roadmap will shape the way HDB plans, designs and maintains its towns over the next decade. Some of the initiatives within the estate that residents can look forward to under the Live Well pillar include more tranquil green spaces, elder-friendly designs and features that promote active living, and more opportunities to design their own common spaces.

For more on Live Well, visit the Designing for Life Virtual Exhibition! You can also find out more about the two other pillars – Live Smart, Live Connected – of the roadmap in the virtual exhibition.

Interview and photos by Briana Tan

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