It’s one thing to be an active ager, it’s another to want to stay active by helping others.
This is probably what makes Rahimah Salimin a role model for active ageing.
The bubbly 68-year-old is an ambassador for the Labour Movement’s U Live community ― a platform that reaches out to active agers 55 and above through various work, live and play initiatives.
Her full-time job, enviable social life, and volunteer work schedule smack of someone half her age.
An Active Ageing ‘Career’
Rahimah’s volunteer journey with U Live started when she turned 55 in 2009 and automatically became a community member.
From participating in U Live’s activities, she started volunteering to help out. She quickly discovered a calling to educate seniors on health matters.
“I believe non-active seniors fall sick very easily. They stay home and do nothing but see the four walls and [hence] get dementia very easily. I realised that I didn’t want to be like that.
“I’ve been very active since young, and I believe this [volunteerism] is a chance for me to keep healthy and be active.
“This is also my way to [give back] to the community. I want to share with the seniors the advantages of being healthy and active.
“I also give them advice on how to stay healthy as I’m in the healthcare line,” Rahimah elaborated.
Recognising her passion for volunteer work, U Live groomed her as an ambassador under its Active 55+ programme.
The programme develops members to lead a happy, healthy, productive and purposeful (H2P2) lifestyle. It also encourages them to take on leadership roles to benefit other seniors in the community.
She also took up Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute’s (OTCi) training programme to complete her studies as an ambassador.
Under the OTCi programme, the active ager picked up additional skills in volunteerism, technology and leadership.
Upon graduating from the courses, she was roped into the purposeful group to extend the U Live network to fellow seniors.
“My role was to [promote] our activities and learning journeys, introduce the advantages of using technology and get more members to join.
“By joining U Live, I had more chances to talk to seniors and took the opportunity to tell U Live that they needed healthcare talks.
“Some seniors could not exercise because they had joint pains and so on. But if they had healthcare talks, they could implement [what they learnt] and take care of themselves,” Rahimah elaborated.
While she has assisted in many events during her U Live ‘career’, none have been more fulfilling than the U Live Symposium.
“Once I was confirmed as an ambassador, I put all my time into that ― coming for meetings, organising, setting up, and so on.
“We had meetings to discuss what [activities] to add, how to receive the participants, how to usher guests and seniors,” said Rahimah, fondly recollecting how she handled the gift booth where people collected prizes after winning games.
The Smart Nation Experience
During the COVID-19 pandemic, U Live, like many other communities, had to scale down its activities.
This didn’t stop Rahimah from carrying on with volunteer work ― far from it.
Through U Live, the spritely volunteer learned about Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative.
Spurred by an interest in technology, she attended workshops to upgrade her skills.
After that, she put her newfound knowledge into practice by volunteering at Smart Nation roadshows to guide her peers in using the latest Government apps to improve their lives.
“I am motivated by the desire to create a lasting impact in the community, and teaching technology to others helps me achieve this goal.
“I hope to pass on my experiences and achievements to my grandchildren as part of my legacy,” shared Rahimah, who has five children and 19 grandchildren.
Earlier this year, her efforts bore fruit. Rahimah was recognised as a Star Smart Nation Ambassador 2022, an honour bestowed on exceptional volunteers.
Rahimah has been an Executive Assistant at a local hospital for about 30 years.
The long-time healthcare worker also served as a member of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union branch committee.
Her union work is yet another avenue for Rahimah to volunteer.
Over the years, she helped fellow union members to apply for assistance schemes and organised union activities to engage them.
When she turned 55, she joined the HSEU alumni. She continued participating in activities while encouraging the union’s over-55 members to participate in U Live events.
In 2019, her union activism reached a new high when she was selected to join the Labour Movement’s National Day marching contingent.
“I was so proud to carry the NTUC banner/flags as a representative of the NTUC contingent,” Rahimah smiled.
As far as retirement plans go, Rahimah has it all worked out.
Although she has plans to continue working for two more years until the age of 70, Rahimah does it to fund her overseas trips, not retirement.
Post-retirement, she plans to stay in the foreign property she invested in about 20 years ago.
Her current Singapore property will be rented out to support her retirement.
Being the active ager she is, Rahimah is already looking forward to planting fruits and flowers in her garden and continuing to travel.
U Live is embarking on a mind and body wellness programme this year with activities like physical workout sessions, golf friendlies, Traditional Chinese Medicine talks and volunteering opportunities.