President Halimah visits senior citizens at integrated care centre in Whampoa

President Halimah Yacob joins senior citizens in painting trivets made from clothes pegs at the Community for Successful Ageing Whampoa Centre on Monday (Nov 20).
President Halimah Yacob joins senior citizens in painting trivets made from clothes pegs at the Community for Successful Ageing Whampoa Centre on Monday (Nov 20).ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Madam Lee Peek Chuin taking a mock shot of a handicraft that President Halimah Yacob painted.
Madam Lee Peek Chuin taking a mock shot of a handicraft that President Halimah Yacob painted.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Three times a week, Madam Lee Peek Chuin leaves her Whampoa flat to visit a healthcare and activity centre at her neighbourhood community club.

Madam Lee, 73, has arthritis and asthma and uses a walking frame to get around after a hip operation last year but says she enjoys making the trip out to exercise and talk to other seniors.

"I love to play mahjong with the others and keep my mind active. You win some and you lose some - we don't play for money," she adds with a laugh.

On Monday (Nov 20), she was with 17 others at the Community for Successful Ageing (ComSA) Whampoa Centre painting trivets made from clothes pegs when President Halimah Yacob joined in.

Madam Lee gave the President a thumbs up and a "star" for her craft efforts.

"She painted it very nicely," she said later. "I think she's a kind person, and not proud."

More elderly should have the chance to age in the community and at home, while having their health and social needs met, said Madam Halimah after the visit to the centre.

"This is important because we are a rapidly ageing population and we do see seniors who are growing frailer by the day," she added.

"But at the same time they may not want to go to the hospital, they want to be able to continue to age in the community. But they do have both health issues and social issues."

The ComSA Whampoa Centre, run by non-profit organisation Tsao Foundation, houses activity rooms, a clinic, a kitchen for culinary classes and exercise facilities.

It officially opened earlier this year at Whampoa Community Club, and serves about 200 Whampoa residents on days when all programmes are in session. The programmes include medical and psycho-emotional care, a "ComSA Kawan" initiative where elderly people can spend time together and teach each other, and workshops on life skills.

A community development group also involves the elderly in creating solutions for the issues they face in their community.

Madam Halimah said she hopes such a model can be applied all over Singapore, particularly in her previous constituency of Marsiling where there are many frail, older seniors.

"As we move forward, we want to see our seniors not only be able to live longer, but also be able to live healthily and happily," she added.