Do family duties make it difficult for you to pursue your leisure interest?

SilverHairsClub developed its main objective to provide a platform for SilverHairs, over 45, to meet new and more friends. Over the last 9 years, we get to understand our objective better, and whether it has served our efforts.


The Council of Third Age recent survey revealed that many Singaporeans who have left full time work are not able to fulfil their leisure interests because they need to look after their family duties first.


Grand children to look after, keeping the house clean, get ready homecooked food and caring after an ageing family member.  Are you one of those who are unable to participate in SHC activities because you have family duties to do?  What percentage of your SHC friends do you know fall under this category?

Or are you within the 36-45% surveyed that say your reasons for non-participation in leisure activities are due to lack of money or because of age?  The survey added that most seniors prefer to keep to themselvces after they retired and may lack the courage to proactively intereact with others?


Come share your thoughts, even if you have been inactive?  What do you think?  What about you?  Make an effort to share your thots.

Terence Seah

Author: Terence Seah


15 thoughts on “Do family duties make it difficult for you to pursue your leisure interest?”

  1. Thanks, Ivan for the picture of that proud-looking boy. “Cape and tights” refer to Superman, I suppose.

    Let us revisit SHC’s objective. It is “to provide a platform for SilverHairs, over 45, to meet new and more friends”.

    There are parks and gardens but many people choose to stay at home to whack the keyboard instead, and there are MRT stations everywhere but some people prefer to drive. Similarly for SHC, the platform is there, but if people don’t want to make friends, what can we do?

    If the Commissioner of Parks and Recreations and the Chief Executive of SMRT are not frowning, why does the SHC Chief lament that the Club “has failed its objective”?


  2. Terence,
    See picture …
    Anyway, SHC did not fail in her objectives …
    There are always some winners and some losses …
    The winnings make it all worthwhile …
    The losses make us try harder and keep us on our toes …
    Ivan Lim[image=IMG_9552.JPG]

  3. Terence,

    You started off the topic by asking has SHC achieve its objective by getting member to participate in its leisure activities, making friends while the title simply talked about family duties prevent seniors ( i supposed) from having leisure activities from a survey.
    There are thus two parts to it. SHC as a platform for such activities and seniors finding time for leisure activities which is probably what the survey reveals.
    Then we have to define what is “leisure activties”
    Watching TV which is a common household item alone in the living room is a leisure activity which require no travelling , companion and only the cost of electricity bill.
    To smokers, even smoking is a form of relaxation , thus a leisure activity. I have a successful business friend late into his sixties (due to his frankness and outright talk have few firends) find having lunch or long coffee chat with me fornightly a leisure activity besides his weekly golf. I would often poke fun at him to adopt more vices to pamper himself with his millions or “foster” me since he do not have a son.
    . Thus the finding of the survey to me may be flawed as perhaps the questionaire is based of certain categories of “leisure activities” like concerts, tours, certain type of affluent game.

    A simple stroll after dinner alone or with loved ones around the neighbourhood to me is a leisure activity then. Crudely speaking , staring the blankly out of the window can be quite pleasing and a leisure.


  4. I refer to your feedback on the issue of why the recent survey showed many seniors are unable to pursue their leisure interest.

    Leon’s and Daniel’s points seem not so forgiving. They both believe that the reasons do not warrant a good enough reason for seniors not to pursue their leisure. While I would consider their views ideal, I feel it is unfortunate the reasons given are realistic and true.

    We have to decide for ourselves. Right?

    Terence Seah

  5. Hey, what is GK? Yah, I got to come to Coffee Chat to find out, but meanwhile I try to guess:
    Goal Keeper
    Gong Kiasai
    And GM? Haha, I know… I am GP…no, not Goreng Pisang!
    Anyway, Dan and Leon have given us many pertinent reasons to come to SHC meets and Coffee Chats; we might even put off senility…
    Hey, where and who am I?

  6. Hi DC (aka GK)!
    Read yr interesting comments … haha…
    TQ for promoting my kopi chat grp. Yes, it’s only a once-a-month affair ~ next session being on Thursday, 13 Oct from 2 – 4 pm (see my posting on this website).
    I’m an active ager .. semi-retired, doing GM’s duties (as and when required), with many CCAs… :-)


  7. My answer to the question (the title to this post) is, empathetically NO.
    My point is – no retiree is so occupied that he/she cannot find time for some leisure or social activities.

    For another concern – those who work “full time”. This is a problem indeed, because in work, all your time is practically sold to your employer. Working hours and travelling time easily take up the entire day. I have “stolen” some time during lunch break to write this. Weekends are the little precious time you have with your family members – friends can wait. This will surely affect a person’s participation in leisure events and activities. But again, nothing is impossible. Some among our active participants are gainfully employed.

    So, to all the “eat-full-very-free” and “eat-full-not-so-free” people – Timing is the name and Balancing is the game. SHC beckons. Yes, kopi chat for a start. Cheers.


  8. The qualifying age to join SHC is 45. Thus we should have quite a sizeable eligible
    membership. Truly many would still be working thus find the timing to participate
    fall into their working hours or do not find it worth to use their leave for such purpose. Except for travel and overseas outing, many gathering are just for a few hours so when it does it become a reason or excuse not to participate.

    Perhaps many have other platform, network and other club membership to already keep them occupied. Most of us do have responsibility of housework, looking after the children if they married late or looking after an aged parent if they are the only child. Time management should overcome this but it is the desire to
    use SHC as a platform to make friends and for leisure activities.

    There is always an awkwardness of progressing from stranger to acquaintance to friend to soul mate. It take few meeting, interaction for familiarity to be comfortable with each other. The coffee chat has its regular followers and hopefully each time new members make their appearance there. It cost only a MRT fare and a coffee to be there.

    For the rest, like Terence said , do share your thoughts here. No time is most of the time an excuse. I would like to part with this personal message.
    “Laziness is an virtue because it force me to automate my life to do more”
    There are lots of ways and methods for personal productivity to free yourself from mundane task to do more meaningful task. I automate my life as much as possible to enable me to keep a dog, look after an aged parent, fuzzed over my
    grown up kids, managed the housework without a maid, involved in a fair bit of community and committee work and find time in my calendar for selective events in SHC.
    And I am not retired yet and no intention to after the forum I put up on this retirement topic and the feedback I received.

  9. Just want to say something about the 36 -45% of elderly who do not join activities because of (i) lack of money (ii) old age (iii) lack of courage to be proactive – this is evidence that one should prepare for old age and not be caught in a situation of need when one is old. This is why having a retirement nest-egg is so important – it makes a difference to the quality of one’s silver and golden years.

    2-ct’s worth :)

  10. Hi DanielC, RobertO,

    Personally, when I read the survey analysis, by the Council of 3rd Age, I have no disagreement that many SHCians and seniors are unable to participate in many activities or leisure interests because they have family committments. I form this impression over the last 9 years because many members have written to me to say they have family committments especially looking after grand children, an elderly at home and have chores to do at home.

    But, a bigger reason which few seniors would say is the need to still work, even though they are past retirement age. Some have to do the 9-5 routine, and others take up part-time work on Sat/Sun and some even late past dinner time. Despite our desire for more leisure hours, many seniors still need to work, and they see this as important and critical to fulfilling their other needs.

    Fellow members, if you have still a lot of family assignments or still the need to work full time, please share your thoughts.

    Terence Seah

  11. Joining a SHC activity – or for that matter, any other activity – entails bringing people together. Human relationship is a complex, even convoluted, concoction. It will be too simplistic for anyone to suggest a reason for participation, or the lack of it. Somebody has disappeared? Depending on experience, it could be “absent makes the heart grow fonder” or “familiarity breeds contempt”. Nobody is any wiser for the true answer. Hence, I do not trust those so called survey.

    Human beings are varied, and at our age, quite settled in our respective life styles. We may know somebody who cheerfully joins almost every activity. We may have another who picks and chooses not only the activity but the participants. Then we have those who put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

    Quote Terence, “The Club has failed its objective, in the sense, that these members did not find a friend in the club”. Personally I don’t think any Club should shoulder such a responsibility; unless we believe the member has some serious deficiency to start with.

    Let’s examine the title of this post again. “Do family duties make it difficult for you to pursue your leisure interest?” Anybody who treats family duties as a burden or chore is not a very happy individual. But then, very few people our age, if any, are committed to doing housework without a break. Perhaps “family duty” as an excuse for not attending an activity is the safest bet; as the priority is obvious.

    We should respect the wish of each member, as we are in no position to create some kind of homogeneous enclave. Probing too much about others only serves to intrude their privacy, no matter how noble our objective may be.


  12. Hi Terence
    In your first comment, you mentioned about a survey in which the retirees are unable to participate in SHC activities due to commitment to doing family duties.
    This phenomenon may be prevalent but there are others who, during the remaining chapters of life, prefer to do something which they were unable to do during working life. They may want to acquire a skill such as learning to play a musical instrument, taking up painting or dancing as a hobby. Or, they may join friends to go on tours.
    These activities may make life more enjoyable and sustaining.
    There are another group of seniors who prefer to keep to themselves. This is self-imposed isolation which counters the saying: No man is an island.

    In your second comment, you pointed out the stark facts that some SHC members did not make friends within the Club. Slowly they sank into oblivion.

    Many new SHC members who just joined were rather passionate to organise activities but soon their passions started to flicker due to poor response.

    Hi Kristy
    It was rather unfortunate that your bad fall deprived you from taking part in many activities you enjoyed.

    But mishaps can happen anywhere even at home. I knew of a friend who fractured his hip bone while changing his trouser. Another fractured her limb when she slipped on a slippery floor.

    I have witnessed many seniors who are immobile when they reached sixties and older.
    So be happy and enjoy with friends in outdoor or indoor activities while we still can.


  13. I am 53, no grandchildren to look after and not many family du to attemd to. But l can’t do things l love to, like short travel trips, jungle trekking, mountain climbing, dancing, cycling and walking. Also racket games.

    Why? Becoz of a bad fall in Taman Negara. My spinal vertebrae weRe dislocated and since l had 3 spinal operations. My knees are weak and l cannot walk too much and stand too long.

    My point is there is no need to grow old to be afflicted with old age problems. Efforts should be taken to help this group of people to age gracefully.


  14. Some 10 years ago, before I started the SilverHairsClub, I thought to myself, how we are going to live through our elderly days. My mind said, I am now only 50, and I have a wife who will help me if I cannot walk, eat or sit up. So, I thought no worries. But, this is not true for all of us.

    Within the 10 years of SHC being in operation, I see members age fast, and faster if they retire. It wasn’t long after that I noticed they disappeared from Club activities. They stayed at home, see the doctor more frequently and, not long later, they become immobile.

    The Club has failed its objective, in the sense, that these members did not find a friend in the club. Nobody knew where they went to. Nobody knew they were sick, and nobody knew they left for another world.

    SHC members need not know many friends. You just need to know 1 or 2 friends whom you can share the rest of your life together. Somebody who can help you keep in touch with the world;

    The Club does not have all the ideas and resources to bring people together. But, you can make the effort to come join its activities and know one friend. You can also organise activities or gatherings, even if it’s a small gathering in your apartment; be it 1 room, 2, 3, 4, 5 or a domitory.

    Terence Seah

Leave a Reply