Even without the restrictions on travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including our elderly family members on vacation can be difficult. These difficulties can range from concerns about whether our older relatives with delicate health can handle the stresses of a flight to worries about not having wheelchair access at the places we want to visit.
However, these concerns don’t need to stop you from including senior citizens into plans for a staycation or a fun day out in Singapore. We will talk about why it can be safe and even beneficial to bring seniors out to attractions and staycations. Next, we will go over some elderly-friendly attractions and accessible hotels where you can include your elderly family members in a hassle-free holiday experience.
Why Should You Bring Your Seniors to Attractions?
Bringing your seniors to attractions and staycations can be a great way to improve their mental wellbeing. Many older individuals are at risk of lower mental health because they are more likely to live alone and have experienced the death of friends and family members. Poor social relationships among the elderly are associated with a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and even premature death. Including seniors on holidays can shore up their mental health by making sure they know their company is appreciated and they are valued members of the family.
Including your older family members on holidays can also help to forge stronger relationships between seniors and the rest of the family. Your children might even learn to have greater patience and empathy through bonding with their aged relatives. Forging stronger bonds through going on holiday together can have lasting benefits not just for your seniors, but the rest of the family.
Best Elderly-Friendly Attractions in Singapore
1. ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands features exhibits which can appeal to all members of the family. With exhibits ranging from Star Wars movies to video games and interactive virtual reality (VR) galleries, there will be something to delight every member of the family.
The museum has a large elevator that goes to all floors and wheelchair-accessible toilets throughout the building. All walkways are at least 1.2m wide to accommodate wheelchair users. Manual wheelchairs are available free of charge upon request at the level 1 Visitor Experience Counter. Furthermore, guide dogs are allowed inside the museum and there are concession rates for people with disabilities (PWDs) and their guardians when purchasing tickets to visit the museum.
Cost: Admission costs vary based on the exhibitions you want to visit. For all exhibitions seniors are eligible for lower concession prices. For example, entry to the Future World exhibition is $16 for adults and $12 for seniors. There are also discounted bundle prices if you want to go to two or more exhibitions at the same time. Check the ArtScience Museum ticketing page for the latest exhibitions and prices.
Address: 6 Bayfront Ave S018974 (near Bayfront MRT Station)
2. Botanic Gardens
With wide walkways and sprawling green fields, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a scenic attraction where you can bring your older family members for a scenic day out. One way you can treat the seniors in your family is by bringing them to the National Orchid Garden where they can see over 1,000 different species of orchids from around the world in an environment that simulates a montane forest. The Botany Centre and the entrance to the gardens is wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair loan services, first-aid and emergency services are available at the Visitor Services Centre located a short walk from Nassim Gate.
Elderly-friendly facilities: The Botany Centre and the entrance to the gardens is wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair loan services, first-aid and emergency services are available at the Visitor Services Centre located a short walk from Nassim Gate.
Cost: Entering the gardens is free of charge. Admission charges to the Orchid Garden are just $1 for seniors above 65 who are Singaporean citizens, PRs or who hold certain passes like employment passes or dependant’s passes, and $5 for adults in the same category.
Address: 1 Cluny Road S259569
3. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay offers many large and beautiful exhibits that let you have a relaxing day with your senior relatives in beautiful surroundings. You can enjoy looking at flowers from areas as far as the Mediterranean in the Flower Dome or admire aquatic plants and wildlife at the Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes. Cafes spread around Gardens by the Bay allow your older relatives a place to relax and recharge.
Many areas in Gardens by the Bay are wheelchair-accessible. Gardens by the Bay has a wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus fleet that is free to use for wheelchair users. Wheelchairs can be rented at $2 an hour at the Arrival Gift Shop, which can save you the effort of having to pack a wheelchair when you go there. All wheelchairs must be returned by 8 p.m.
Cost: Flower Dome – $8 per day for Singapore senior citizens | $12 adults
Garden Experience (Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Floral Fantasy) – $100 for 2 pax (with shuttle service and a $40 F&B voucher).
More information on other types of bundle packages can be found on the Gardens by the Bay ticketing page.
Address: 18 Marina Gardens Drive, S018953
4. National Museum of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore is a great destination for your older family members to reminisce about the history they lived through. The Growing Up exhibition showcases items from the 1950s and 1960s, which can help your older family members to relive their memories. Your seniors might also enjoy Yip Yew Chong’s life-size murals of the sights and sounds of 20th century Singapore, like street side barbers and provision shops displayed on the LED Wall opposite The Salon. Accessible parking for people with special needs and manual wheelchairs are available at the museum, as well as Quiet Spots around the exhibits where your seniors can sit and rest.
Cost: Free entry is available for Singapore citizens and PRs as well as children of any nationality below six years old.
Address: 93 Stamford Road, S178897
5. Singapore Zoo
Spending a day in the zoo can make for a relaxed outing for the whole family. Bringing both seniors and juniors along to the Singapore Zoo can also be a valuable way to forge intergenerational bonds as your older relatives can explain the exhibits to the younger. You can visit the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari and enjoy tram and boat rides around the parks with the ParkHopper Plus admission package.
Wheelchairs are complimentary for guests with limited mobility at all of Singapore Wildlife Reserves’ (SWR) parks, including the Jurong Bird Park and the River Safari. You can obtain a wheelchair at the reception counter located at the entrance to the zoo. Some of the trams that bring visitors around the zoo also have special seats for wheelchair users. You can have unlimited rides on the tram throughout the day by purchasing tickets online beforehand at $5 for adults and $3 for children aged 3 to 12.
Cost: Tickets for seniors who are Singapore citizens, PRs or hold MOM-approved passes is $18. Tickets go for $36.90 for adults and youth and $25.20 for children. For $50 you can gain one-day entry to both the Zoo and the River Safari.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road S729826
6. Jurong Lake Gardens
The Jurong Lake Gardens refer to the 90-hectare area consisting of three separate gardens: Lakeside Garden, Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden. While the Chinese and Japanese Gardens are closed for renovation until the end of 2021, you can still visit the Lakeside Garden any time. You can stroll down the Jurong Boardwalk and behold a unique swamp habitat at Rasau Walk where you can see what Jurong was like in the past, or go down to Neram Streams to admire biodiversity if you’re feeling more adventurous. There is a kid-friendly water attraction at Clusia Cove and even a dog run so you can bring the entire family, two- and four-legged members alike!
Elderly-friendly facilities: The boardwalks are wide and allow sufficient space for wheelchair access. The Therapeutic Garden, an attraction where seniors can remember familiar plants from their youth, has two paths, one designed for older people with dementia and another for wheelchair users.
Cost: Entry into Lakeside Garden is free for any members of the public.
Address: Yuan Ching Road
7. National Gallery Singapore
Walking through a historic building admiring works of art can be one of the most relaxing ways to spend your weekend. That is precisely what you can do in the National Gallery, housed in the building that used to be home to the Supreme Court. The National Gallery has one of the world’s largest displays of modern Southeast Asian art. In one trip you can enjoy spanning 19th century oil paintings displaying Singapore’s history to contemporary art installations by local artists. With new exhibitions always around the corner, there is always something new for your family to experience each time you visit.
Elderly-friendly facilities: Lifts are available on every floor for people who use wheelchairs to move between galleries. Accessible toilets are located in the City Hall Wing, and wheelchairs can be borrowed free of charge at the information counters.
Cost: Free entry for general admission (Singapore and PR)
General admission lets visitors go into one of the permanent exhibition galleries per trip. Entry into some of the special exhibitions requires purchasing a separate ticket. For more information on the latest exhibitions and ticket prices visit the National Gallery website.
Address: 1 St Andrew’s Road, S178957
8. River Safari
Enjoy access to unique habitats at the River Safari, the latest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore. Watch giant otters and manatees swimming through the Flooded Forest, and get a unique glimpse of pandas in the Panda Forest. The Amazon River Quest will let you try to spot Amazonian animals like jaguars, tapirs and anteaters on a leisurely boat ride. With its cast of colourful animals the River Safari will offer something to delight the whole family.
Elderly-friendly facilities: Wheelchairs are available for rent free of charge. You also have the option to rent an electric scooter to increase mobility for your senior family members. Electric scooters will cost $20 to rent for the first three hours and $5 for every additional hour thereafter. You can rent electric scooters from the park’s reception counter.
Cost: Single entry to the River Safari costs $17 for senior citizens above the age of 60 who are Singapore citizens, PRs and holders of MOM-approved passes. Prices for adults and youth aged 13 to 17 is $34.20 while child tickets are $23.40. You can purchase Amazon River Quest tickets online daily, at $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road S729826
9. Sembawang Hot Spring Park
Your seniors can be soothed by the warm waters at Singapore’s only natural hot spring park. You can soak your feet in the hot spring’s waters at the park’s foot bath, and even enjoy Japanese-style hot spring eggs at a dedicated egg cooking station. Next to the hot spring are nature trails along which you can walk and find fruits and plants which would have been common in a kampung setting.
Elderly-friendly facilities: The hot spring and nature trails are wheelchair-accessible. However, take note that the hot spring water may not be suitable for people with skin conditions or certain other illnesses. If you are unsure, please consult your doctor.
Cost: Entry is free of charge to members of the public.
Address: Along Gambas Ave
Note: The Sembawang Hot Spring Park is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
10. Singapore Discovery Centre
At the Singapore Discovery Centre you can enjoy a variety of exhibitions that help you learn about Singapore’s history. Your seniors can add to the educational experience by remembering and educating younger members of the family on periods of history that they lived through. Walk through a panorama of Singapore’s history at the Permanent Exhibits Gallery, take a SAFTI bus tour where you can catch a glimpse of a military base, or enjoy family-friendly movies at the iWerks Theatre.
Elderly-friendly facilities: Wheelchairs are available for loan and accessible seating can be found throughout the attractions.
Cost: Tickets to the attractions have to be booked online in advance. Entry to the permanent exhibitions is free for Singaporean citizens and PRs. Guided tours of the exhibitions are available at $4 per person.
Address: 510 Upper Jurong Rd S638365
7 Things You Should Consider When Making Bringing Your Loved Ones Out
We have gone over some attractions and hotels in Singapore where your older family members can be safe and still enjoy themselves at the same time. At the same time this doesn’t mean we can throw all caution out of the window. Our elderly loved ones’ health conditions still require consideration if we want to include them meaningfully in our holiday plans.
1. Don’t fuss over your seniors too much
When travelling with senior citizens, it can be easy to worry about things like whether they can make the long walk between different attractions or if they will be okay after bumping against a railing. Your elderly family members are still adults and do not need to be watched over all the time. In fact, giving your seniors some space can help to boost their confidence and well-being by restoring their sense of independence.
2. Discuss your plans beforehand
People of different ages would have different holiday preferences. This is important to keep in mind, especially in an intergenerational family. For example, while your young children would want to go on the roller coasters, your elderly parents would rather spend the afternoon relaxing in a café. While you might want a one-day staycation, your older family members might want a longer holiday over the weekend. You should include your senior family members when you plan your holidays so that they do not feel compelled to always participate in activities they’re not interested in. Taking your seniors’ preferences into account is important to planning a holiday that they will genuinely enjoy.
3. Keep the itinerary simple
When you arrive at an attraction, it can be tempting to want to try out all the activities and finish visiting all the sights as soon as you can for fear of missing out. This can be overwhelming to seniors who are travelling with you. Older family members with Alzheimer’s disease might especially be easily agitated at changes in routine. Planning two or three activities for the day and sticking to the itinerary would make the holiday a more pleasant experience for your seniors than trying to shake up the schedule when you discover a new activity to do or place to go.
4. Learn to recognise and prevent signs of agitation
Seniors with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease can become easily irritated from environmental stimuli like loud noises and bright lights. If you know that your elderly family members are sensitive to stimuli, try to avoid bringing them to events like a noisy concert or a light show with bright flashing lights. Learn to recognise the warning signs of agitation early on so that you can remove your older family member from whatever is triggering their reaction and calm them down.
5. Plan plenty of time for rest
Our senior family members may not have as much as energy as the rest of the family to walk around for long periods of time. Making them be on the go constantly from place to place can cause fatigue or even physical injury. Remember to include lots of time for rest to give your older family members a chance to recharge before moving on to the next item on the schedule.
6. Remember to pack essentials in case of emergency
Even if you think you have planned a fool-proof itinerary, you never know when an emergency could happen. It is good to be prepared for any situation where you might have to administer medication or call emergency services. Some of our older family members might also be on long-term medication that has to be taken at regular intervals during a staycation. You should pack doctor’s letters, medication, first-aid supplies, and a list of emergency contacts so that staff at your destination can also assist you in the event of an emergency.
7. Take things slow
With your seniors, it is important to consider that they can get easily tired and overwhelmed from having to do many things during a holiday. They might not need to have to do a lot of things to be happy during a trip out. While you or your younger family members might want to experience all your destination has to offer, you also need to take your older family members’ feelings into consideration. Taking your time at one attraction rather than rushing on to the next might let them have a more satisfying holiday experience.
If the senior you want to travel with is exhibiting signs of advanced dementia, it might not be a good idea to bring them with you on holiday. Signs of advanced dementia include severe memory loss, hallucinations, problems with communication, and frequently being confused about who or where they are. Travelling with seniors with advanced dementia can be dangerous especially if they wander away and cannot remember who to contact or where they are supposed to be. In cases where your seniors have severe deterioration in their mental capabilities, it might be safer to leave them in the care of a relative or nursing home for some time while you travel.
Regardless of whether you choose to travel with your elderly family members or let them stay at home, Homage is here to provide you with what you need for a safe yet enjoyable experience. We can arrange for medical escort and transport services to help you bring your senior relatives to and from their destinations. You can also engage a caregiver from one of our trained Care Pros to help look after older relatives if you have to be away. With us, your senior family members can stay safe wherever they might be.
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