Ang Mo Kio (AMK) resident Florence Tan, 59, walks on tip toes as one leg is shorter than the other due to polio. But that has not stopped her from diligently attending the strength training exercise sessions twice a week at the void deck of a neighbouring block. Florence is one of some 45 residents who have taken part in these sessions organised by TOUCH Caregivers Support (TCG) since last November as part of its Community Enablement Project. These sessions seek to promote healthy living and a supportive environment to help older residents in our AMK precinct continue to age in place.
Florence, who also suffers from osteoporosis, said, “After joining the exercise sessions, my knees feel stronger and more flexible. In the past, my muscles felt tight. My feet are bent so I need to be careful when I walk. I use an umbrella to support myself just in case I fall. I hope these exercises will help me walk better. Nowadays, I try not to rely on my umbrella when I walk. I wish to challenge myself.”
“I also enjoy meeting the other residents here. I have made new friends. I even invited an elderly resident to join me for the exercise sessions. It is convenient for me to come down to take part in the activities. It is better to keep my mind occupied than to be stuck at home facing my four walls or doing routine tasks every day. In future, I would like to volunteer to help other needy residents,” added Florence.
Residents made new friends and volunteered to help other residents in need. When one resident, who is the caregiver of her husband with limited mobility, wanted to go on a short holiday and needed help with her husband’s meals, two residents readily volunteered to buy and deliver the food. Other participants have also stepped forward to assist with logistical and administrative support, including checking residents’ blood pressure before the exercise sessions.
“We are heartened to see residents warming up to one another and volunteering within this short span of time. We have planned our sessions to promote greater interaction, such as making them exercise in pairs. Family members are also glad to see their elderly parents getting out of their homes and making new friends. Many have taken the initiative to look out and help one another. This is a good sign. I was touched when I was told that one of the residents volunteered to buy food for a frail resident even though she herself suffers from multiple joint pains,” said Kavin Seow, Director of TCG and TOUCH Home Care.
Residents look forward to the twice weekly exercise sessions facilitated by TOUCH staff and therapists. More activities are in the pipeline to further engage residents and identify other areas of interests. TCG has also sought residents’ feedback in the design and development of its Community Wellness Hub.