NTUC Health opens new elder daycare centre at Hougang

Mr Karim Idris Abdullah (front, centre) accompanied by (from left) NTUC chairman Lim Boon Heng, Mr Karim's wife Hajjah Tuharah and Ang Mo Kio MP Darryl David at the Ci Yuan Silver Circle Senior Care Centre.
Mr Karim Idris Abdullah (front, centre) accompanied by (from left) NTUC chairman Lim Boon Heng, Mr Karim's wife Hajjah Tuharah and Ang Mo Kio MP Darryl David at the Ci Yuan Silver Circle Senior Care Centre. PHOTO: NTUC HEALTH CO-OPERATIVE LIMITED

SINGAPORE: Senior citizen Karim Idris Abdullah's new daily routine includes chairing bingo sessions in an elder daycare centre.

It beats spending most of the day watching TV at home, said Mr Karim, 78, who is a wheelchair user.

Speaking to The Straits Times at the official opening of the Ci Yuan Silver Circle Senior Care Centre, Mr Karim said the centre, where he spends his days, has allowed him to make new friends and stave off boredom.

"I have a lot of friends here to do brain exercises with," said Mr Karim, who joined the centre in April last year (2016). It is operated by NTUC Health,an NTUC social enterprise that provides eldercare and health services.

He is one of the 80 seniors in the daycare programme of the centre, which a medical social worker introduced him to.

"Instructors have also taught me how to use the iPad," said Mr Karim, who counts playing virtual billards among his favourite activities.

Elder daycare centres aim to provide a safe place for the elderly in working families to meet new friends and engage themselves with age-appropriate activities, cared for by professionals, until they return home every evening.

The elder daycare centre, which is in Ci Yuan Community Club at Hougang Avenue 9, is the 13th Silver Circle centre in Singapore and the first to be within a community club.

The 800 sq m facility has already reached its full capacity of 80 seniors, which are being cared for by a 16-strong staff.

Amenities include a gym, mahjong tables, a learning room and a "reminiscence room" that aims to jog the memory of dementia patients through nostalgic furnishings.

The daycare service costs between $250 and $1,200 a month, depending on the subsidies their families are eligible for.

During the opening ceremony, Ms Tan Hwee Bin, chairman of NTUC Health, also announced that another Silver Circle centre was slated to open by the end of 2017, at a yet undisclosed location.

Ms Tan added that the daycare programmes in the centre were designed "to go beyond quality care services to also give seniors dignity and a sense of purpose".