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Active Living and Traveling with Silver Horizon Travel

Posted by Jie Yin Tan on

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Active Living and Traveling: A Chat with Mdm Helen Lim, Founder of Silver Horizon Travel

Mdm Helen Lim is the founder of Silver Horizon Travel Co-operative and many other social enterprises in the silver industry. Silver Horizon is a platform to promote active living and learning through customized travel programs for seniors.

Mdm Helen Lim believes that traveling is an aspect of active living. However, she noticed that options for seniors who want to travel are sorely lacking. There aren’t enough travel agencies that cater to the needs of seniors. To plug the gap in the travel industry, Mdm Helen Lim founded Silver Horizon Travel Co-operative in 2012: A co-operative that offers customized travel programs for seniors, planned by seniors who understand the needs of the seniors.

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Photo from Silver Horizon Travel Facebook Page

 

The idea for the co-operative came about over a cup of coffee with her peers. They found that many seniors who wanted to travel looked towards mainstream travel agencies and are enticed by the great deals offered by the latter. However, on these trips, many seniors quickly realize that the travel packages offered by mainstream travel agencies often leave them tired, rather than refreshed. In what she light-heartedly called the “5-6-7” travel agency formula, Mdm Lim highlights how jam-packed travel itineraries that make its participants wake up at 5, have breakfast at 6 and leave the hotel at 7. Coupled with the fact that travel agencies do not segment its more energetic participants from its less energetic participants, some senior participants are left exhausted and without a good sense of where they’ve visited. To address this issue, she aims to offer a value-for-money alternative that starts later in the morning, leaving more time for its participants to “smell the roses” through Silver Horizon.


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Photo from Silver Horizon Travel Facebook Page

When asked what Silver Horizon tends to look out for when planning trips for seniors, Mdm Helen Lim shared with us that safety is their utmost priority. Her concerns include the amount of walking that has to be done, the walking conditions and the weather conditions. Silver Horizon ensures its participants' safety through several measures. First, there are recommended packing lists tailored for each trip to ensure that participants are adequately dressed and have the right mobility aids that they might need. Second, ample research is done on the destination country. For example, before Silver Horizon embarked on a trip to Yun Nan, China, they had to figure out how much their participants had to walk between places and if it was safe for them. They also stay afloat on the happenings in the area to ensure the safety of its participants. She also added that it was important for participants to have life and travel insurance before embarking on vacations. Each trip comes with a great deal of ample planning. However, Mdm Lim also shared with us that one of her most memorable trips with Silver Horizon was a boat trip to Penang and Langkawi because it was easy to organize and short tours leave its participants more refreshed and contented. So, if you are looking for an easy age-friendly destination, you don’t have to look too far!

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Photo from Silver Horizon Travel Facebook Page

Of course, Mdm Lim added that traveling is but one aspect of active living and how we should live in the world. Therefore, in line with her belief that everyone has different social needs that have to be met, Silver Horizon, along with her other social enterprises such as Silver Spring Pathfinder, encourages seniors to find out what they really want and need, and how they want to live their lives. Besides being a platform for travel, Silver Horizon provides a platform for bonding. Mdm Lim observed that, despite the laudable efforts of the Singapore government to promote active ageing, some initiatives tend to be a tad impersonal. Participants in line dancing classes or yoga classes come and go without making real friends or forming strong social bonds. Hence, she hopes that Silver Horizon can offer the personal touch that is lacking in those initiatives and serve as a platform for participants to forge strong friendships.

Building upon the social connections formed in Silver Horizon, Mdm Lim also wants to use Silver Horizon and her other social enterprises as ways to initiate important conversations in hopes of changing the perception towards ageing in Singapore. Mdm Lim believes that the way people age is changing. She noticed that there is a prominent mismatch between the needs of the older people and the expectations of the younger people. In other words, many seniors are unhappy with their current situation because their needs are not met. At the same time, the younger generation works on the assumption that they are doing the right thing for their elderly parents. Hence, Mdm Lim hopes that Silver Horizon could act to bridge this mismatch by empowering more seniors to speak up about what they really need and want in life.  By doing so, important conversations could be sparked, and seniors could work to change the negative perceptions of the younger generation towards the older generation so that the younger generation will like what they see.

There are many facets to active living and how to live in this world. Traveling is one of the many. Mdm Lim is a passionate lady who embodies many of these facets and is helping others do the same through her work. Now, how do you want to live in this world?


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