You are never too old to travel.
That was what Mr Woo Kim Seng, an 88-year-old widower who lives alone, found out when he embarked on a three-day two-night holiday to the Malaysian towns of Sekinchan and Kuala Selangor last month, as he took in attractions such as the Sky Mirror and Paddy Processing Factory.
The tour was organised by local travel cooperative Silver Horizon Travel, which caters specifically to the elderly, in partnership with the Singapore Statutory Boards Employees' Co-Operative Thrift and Loan Society and charity organisation Brahm Centre.
This was Silver Horizon Travel's fourth charity tour. It was formed in 2012 as a cooperative for seniors by seniors. It started with 18 members and currently has almost 500.
Mr Woo, who was among 10 beneficiaries aged 50 and above from Brahm Centre who participated in the tour, told The New Paper in Mandarin: "I was so happy to be surrounded by friends and to explore and sightsee. I felt comfortable and taken care of.
"My favourite part was going out to sea and seeing the Sky Mirror. The last time I went to Sekinchan was 45 years ago, but I was in only the town area. In the past, there used to be many rubber plantations but now there is modern infrastructure."
Mr Woo, who visited Hong Kong last year with his daughter, added: "I was home alone last year when I was asked to join Brahm Centre. I was happy to do so. It is so much better than being alone at home watching TV."
Another beneficiary, Mr Abraham Ng, 74, was used to travelling free and easy with his wife.
He said: "Last year, in Batam, we went slow, but we didn't know what to do - all we did was eat, shop and just go back to the hotel.
"On this tour, we got to sightsee. We went to the seaside and took photos. For the elderly who couldn't walk, the volunteers helped to push them in wheelchairs."
On how Silver Horizon Travel differentiates itself from conventional travel agencies, its chairman William Goh told TNP: "We try not to depart too early in the morning, rush through too many places and change hotel every night."
He added: "We also don't have forced shopping or optional side tours.
"And we try to provide full meals throughout the tour for the seniors so they do not have the added stress of looking for suitable meals while travelling."
Silver Horizon Travel limits group size to no more than 25 people, with itineraries ranging from one-day trips to Malaysia to 10-day tours to Thailand and New Zealand.
Seniors who require additional support are encouraged to travel with a younger relative whom they can share a room with and assist them throughout the tour.
Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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