Legal awareness talks for the elderly

03 July 2018 | Community
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Chow Xiang giving an introduction on the Golden Years Project to the participants (Photo: Lions Befrienders)

Fifty-five NUS Law freshmen and seven Year 2 NUS Law undergraduates were among the students who provided a series of legal awareness talks for the elderly at various Lions Befrienders Senior Activity Centres from 26 to 29 June.

The sessions are part of the annual Golden Years Project, an integral segment of NUS Law Orientation. The three half-day legal awareness talks saw the students translating complicated legal jargon and explaining legal concepts to the beneficiaries, most of whom live in rental or one-room flats near the activity centres. For the first time since the Golden Years Project was established in 2016, the project team collaborated with the NUS Law LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) Community Outreach Project and also assisted the seniors with preparing and executing LPA applications.

The project also allows for students to better understand legal issues that the elderly face by providing a much-needed platform for greater understanding and interaction.

The students went beyond providing an introduction to legal concepts. Prior to the first talk, they helped a number of beneficiaries in cleaning their homes. At the interactive sessions, they played games with the elderly and also conducted simple arts-and-crafts sessions for the elderly to create mementoes.

Project Director Chow Xiang, who will be a Year 2 student in the new academic year, said that the project seeks to expose incoming freshmen to the pro bono culture that NUS Law strives to inculcate early on in their education. “The project also allows for students to better understand legal issues that the elderly face by providing a much-needed platform for greater understanding and interaction,” he shared.

Chow Xiang said that participating in the project has changed his perspective of law as it pertains to the elderly. “It has made me realise that even though the law does have measures in place to help the elderly age gracefully, the elderly may not necessarily benefit directly as there are many barriers such as communication breakdown and a lack of resources,” he said. More must be done to communicate to the elderly directly, he added.