Active ageing hub opens in McNair Road

The community care centre offers rehabilitative care and social programmes for elderly residents in the Kallang and Whampoa region.
The community care centre offers rehabilitative care and social programmes for elderly residents in the Kallang and Whampoa region.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

To meet the needs of elderly residents in the Kallang and Whampoa region, the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH) has opened a community care centre in McNair Road.

The centre, which was officially opened yesterday, is the first active ageing hub under the Ministry of Health's (MOH) plan to build 10 such hubs in new public housing estates. The hubs are part of a $3 billion plan, first announced in 2015 by MOH, to help Singaporeans lead active lives as they age.

The new centre offers rehabilitative care as well as social programmes for residents in the area, complementing services offered by the hospital in Serangoon Road.

Yesterday's event also saw the signing of an agreement between KWSH and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to collaborate on identifying and developing technology for the elderly. This includes an "interactive therapeutic mouse", an easy-to-use toy designed by students from the polytechnic that aims to stave off dementia by helping senior citizens to exercise their cognitive and motor skills.

KWSH will also be responsible for another active ageing hub under the MOH initiative, which is set to open in St George's Lane in 2019.

Since the McNair Road centre's soft opening three months ago, more than 500 elderly residents have paid the nominal annual fee of $5 for membership. This gives them access to a gym designed for seniors, and activities such as line-dancing and IT classes.

One member, Madam Sumoi Paramesvari, 77, said she goes to the centre daily to exercise and chat with friends. Another resident, Mr Low Hin Choy, 87, is receiving rehabilitative care at the centre after recently suffering a fall.

The centre - which has over 40 daycare places for elderly residents - also serves 100 house-bound residents in the area, providing them with medical care in their homes.

Once the new centre in St George's Lane - just a five-minute walk from the one in McNair Road - is open in two years, the two centres will together be able to serve 1,500 elderly residents, said chief executive officer Ow Chee Chung.

"The new centre will be a clubhouse focusing on sports, the arts and other recreational activities," he said of the St George's Lane facility.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, who attended the event, said active ageing hubs will provide the elderly with opportunities to volunteer as well as receive the medical care they need.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'Active ageing hub opens in McNair Road'. Subscribe