SINGAPORE - Two senior care centres and active ageing hubs are up and running in Ghim Moh and Telok Blangah, the first to be operating seven days a week and on public holidays as well as offering further respite to caregivers.
Managed by private eldercare service provider Active Global Home & Community Care Services, the two integrated facilities are open from 7am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends.
The senior care centres cater to both the active and the frail, featuring services such as senior daycare, dementia daycare, nursing services, rehabilitation gym and a games room.
Mass exercises and workshops await the elderly at the active ageing hubs. Respite care services will also be available here for caregivers and these could take the form of talks or contact with support groups.
Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor was the guest of honour at the official launch of the Senior Care Centre and Active Ageing Hub at Ghim Moh Edge on Wednesday (April 24). She was joined by Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher De Souza.
Dr Khor said: "We have had feedback from various caregivers of the need to have extended opening hours at senior care centres and active ageing hubs. Going forward, the existing active ageing hubs will continue to monitor the demand and need for the extended hours."
Mr De Souza noted that the new centres would provide support to caregivers who had irregular or extended working hours and during the weekends.
The Ghim Moh facility opened in November last year while the one at Telok Blangah Parcview was up and running in January this year.
Many seniors living in Telok Blangah, Tiong Bahru, Ghim Moh and Clementi are eligible for government subsidies of up to 80 per cent to access services at those senior care centres.
There are currently six active ageing hubs islandwide and the one in Ghim Moh is the first in the south-west of Singapore.
Over 180 elderly residents have registered at the two new senior care centres and more than 700 seniors have regularly visited the active ageing hubs.
Staff at the Ghim Moh facility will also attend to home-bound seniors in 222 studio apartments located nearby when the emergency cord is activated in their homes.
A few unconventional rehabilitation exercises and games have been introduced at the two new senior care centres to improve the cognitive functions and physical abilities of the elderly.
For instance, some seniors undergoing physiotherapy will be asked to bowl or play mini basketball to improve their balance and standing endurance.
"By making rehab more fun with basketballs, we are introducing pleasure into exercises and this will translate into better health outcomes for the seniors because they will want to continue rehab," said Yorelle Kalika, the founder and chief executive officer of Active Global Caregivers.
On top of board games and mahjong, senior-friendly arcade games such as pinball, air hockey and arcade fishing are also available in the games room.
"The last thing we want is to see the seniors playing mahjong the whole day because only one part of the brain will be activated."
"If they play arcade games and mini basketball or pool and do arts and crafts, many parts of the body and brain get stimulated and it becomes a much richer experience for them," added Ms Kalika.
Mr Robin Liow, 72, who has Parkinson's disease and suffered a hip fracture last year, now considers the Ghim Moh centre his second home. He was referred to the centre in January after being discharged from St Luke's Hospital.
Despite having difficulty in walking, he visits the centre every day and eagerly participates in the structured programme that includes mobility exercises, colouring, board games and karaoke.
"If I stayed home all day, I will have nothing to do and might have trouble getting food because my domestic helper is outside taking care of my wife who is visually impaired," said Mr Liow.
"At the centre, the staff serve us breakfast and lunch. Although we are patients, they treat us as clients. I'm appreciative and thankful to the staff for taking good care of me."