After attending NTUC Learning Hub’s training programme ‘Servicing Senior Customers’, NTUC FairPrice retail assistant Ms Sree Devi understands difficulties that her regular elderly customers face. “At the course, we learn through role play,” as Sree explained. “We wore glasses and bandages on our hands, to feel how our customers feel when they have poor eyesight and cannot read the labels or handle products properly.”
Training service and retail workers with age-friendly skills is timely as Singapore’s silver population continues to expand. By 2030, 1 in 3 will be over 60 years old. NTUC FairPrice aims to train 500 staff with senior-friendly skills in two years, and have begun a pilot project to enhance the in-store experience of senior shoppers. Its Bukit Merah Central and Lengkok Bahru outlets incorporates features such as call buttons to alert staff for assistance, magnifying glasses for easy reading of labels and lighter double bay trolleys that are easier to manoeuvre.
Over at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, seats are kept flexible, to accommodate families that want to dine with their elders. Wheelchair-bound Mdm Lai, in her 80s, said, “I’m happy! This fishball noodles is tasty and cheap, and it is good that I can sit with my son to have a meal together,” she remarked.