In the News
Supporting Seniors in Stay Home Season
Features 09 Jul 2020
As an occupational therapist with a social work organisation, Tricia Tan has seen her fair share of working with individuals from less-privileged groups in the community. However, in her eight years of being in the industry, she has never seen a time where people are as badly affected as the onset of COVID-19.
Having said this, the group that Tricia was most worried for is the elderly.
“I was concerned about how they would cope with higher social isolation and boredom, being unable to engage in their simple social activities like going to the coffee shop to chat with their peers.”
Rather than wait around and just hope that someone will eventually reach out to them, Tricia rounded up three other like-minded friends from the same industry.
“We were immensely concerned about how the elderly were doing, cooped up in their homes and the possible long-term implications on their health and well-being.”
With 20 years of professional experience working with the elderly between the four of them, Tricia knew that she has a good core team to kick-off this project.
They kicked off their initiative in April. Through their Facebook page (facebook.com/ActivityKampong) and Whatsapp broadcast, they pushed out weekly posts that introduced a set of physical, mental and social activities for seniors to try out at home.
But, they knew that there would be a problem.
“The nature of activities require a smartphone with 4G access to Internet resources. In this, we recognise the limitations in reaching the other pool of seniors who are not tech-savvy.”
Switching to non-technology based activities is also challenging as citizens are unable to purchase materials with the closure of most retail shops.
"The type of activities each group of elderly would be able to engage in is different. The latter group has a special spot in our hearts, as we work with this group mostly in our full-time jobs in the eldercare sector.”
Unfazed, they decided to create their own activity kits — two types. One was designed for the elderly who were able to engage independently; the other for those who required assistance from caregivers. Shifting to physical kits was a big move as the numbers given by the eldercare service providers they contacted identified a staggering total of 600 elderly beneficiaries.
"It seemed like an indication to move forward boldly. This funding support took a big load off our minds as we could then focus on the crucial aspects of planning and operationalising the project.”
In the first and the second week of June, Tricia and her team have successfully delivered 250 kits to the elderly beneficiaries with the remaining 350 scheduled to be on the last week of the month.
(Photo Caption: Mdm Lee Bee Geok, one of the senior beneficiaries, unwrapping her activity kit. Photo credit: Sparkle Care Serangoon)