SINGAPORE - Every morning, Mr Mok Chou Yong, 72, heads to the Thye Hua Kwan (THK) Seniors Activity Centre near his home at Bedok North Street 2 to kickstart his day with a round or two of Rummy-O, a tile-based game similar to mahjong, with his friends.
The retiree, who is unmarried, remains there until 5pm, to read the newspaper, watch television and play mahjong. Before the centre was built last October, Mr Mok spent most of his time alone in his two-room rental flat in Block 113 where he has lived for the past 10 years.
"Last time, it was boring," he said. "I stayed at home and watched TV most of the time. Now I have some excitement in my life when I play Rummy-O and read the newspaper here. Time passes by faster."
Another centre, at Block 101, was also set up last October. Both were officially opened on Friday (March 15), bringing the total to 17 islandwide.
Helmed by THK Moral Charities, the centres conduct daily activities such as board games, craft sessions and physiotherapy exercises to keep the elderly - especially those living in rental blocks - physically and mentally active.
The Fengshan facilities currently serve over 300 elderly people who live in rental flats nearby, and draw in 40 to 50 seniors to each centre daily.
Fengshan MP Cheryl Chan, who visited the two senior activity centres, said: "We have seniors living in rental blocks who are vulnerable, who live alone and don't have a big network. That's why we are bringing these resources to them."
There are more than 1,000 seniors over the age of 80 in the area, Ms Chan added.
Currently, 10 THK Seniors Activity Centres, including one in Fengshan, provide for the elderly's healthcare needs by bringing in SingHealth community nurses every fortnight to advise them on chronic disease management and self-care and to monitor their medicine intake.
The Government has also opened five Active Ageing Hubs which offer rehabilitative care as well as social programmes for residents in the area, with another five to be ready by 2020.
One in eight Singaporeans was classified as a senior (65 years and above) in 2015 and this is projected to rise to 25 per cent of the population by 2030.