Every Wednesday morning, the delicious aroma of soup wafts out of the kitchen at a double-storey senior activity centre in Eunos.
Behind the stove are 70-year-old Madam Hajjah Asnah Pajaroin and the friends she met at Tembusu Senior Activity Centre (TSAC). The vivacious senior has been whipping up hearty pots of nutritious soups under the Share a Pot Programme since it was first introduced at the centre in September last year. The programme, which runs at 32 other community nodes across Singapore, encourages seniors like Madam Asnah to expand their social circle through cooking, exercising, or just sharing a pot of nutritious soup.
To Madam Asnah, having the chance to cook for a big group and to exercise with her friends at the centre keeps her active. “I love cooking. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they enjoy the soup that I made makes me happy,” says Madam Asnah.
At TSAC, the preparation of food ingredients begins at 8.30am every Wednesday. At 10am, they join other seniors for an hour-long low-impact aerobics session. By the time the seniors finish their stretch at 11 am, steaming bowls of wholesome soup are served up. The space is filled with chatter as the seniors bond over soup.
Madam Asnah met her best friend — 76-year-old Madam Rokiah Abdullah — at the centre 10 years ago.
A decade on, their daily activities at the centre have become a routine. Apart from the Share a Pot programme, other active ageing programmes conducted at the centre gives them something to look forward to every day.
“Asnah and I exercise every day at the centre. There is an activity daily. Friday yoga classes are our favourite,” says Madam Rokiah. “We want to be strong and live to 100 years old.”
Experts have said that it is important for seniors, especially those who live on their own, to stay physically and socially active as they age. Active ageing programmes are one way to help seniors prevent social isolation and slow down mental and physical decline.
“Being alone at home can be lonely. I always tell my friends to come out and join us. It is easier to stay motivated and healthy when there are friends to exercise with together,” says Madam Rokiah.
Share a Pot is not the only active ageing programme in Singapore. Social activities such as Rummy-O, Zumba and healthy cooking classes, as well as health screenings are other examples of active ageing programmes.
ABOUT ACTIVE AGEING PROGRAMMES
• Active ageing programmes like Share a Pot are conducted in the community to encourage seniors to stay active, healthy and socially engaged.
• For more information on active ageing programmes, visit www.bit.ly/age-actively or call the AIC hotline at 1800-650-6060. (Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 8.30pm, and Saturday: 8.30am to 4pm, excluding public holidays).
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