Seniors play modified versions

As a way to add fun, active ageing centres have seniors play modified versions of games like floorball and badminton.

Madam Teo Beng Eng, who is 82 years old, plays floorball every week while sitting in a wheelchair.

At Sunlove Chai Chee Active Ageing Centre, she can enjoy a changed version of the sport.

The woman who had a stroke said that the game had given her a second chance at life.

We really need to work out like this. My body would be very stiff if not. I also learn how to do new things. Being here with everyone, I feel much happier,” Mdm Teo told CNA.

The game was first offered to seniors by the centre in July of this year, using a toolkit made by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and Sport Singapore.

It tells you how to change 14 sports so they are easier for older people to do step by step. Basketball, badminton, and sport stacking, which includes stacking cups, are some of the other things that can be done.

The activities are divided into three categories to suit the different cognitive and physical skills of seniors.

Sunlove said since it began offering floorball, interest in the sport has gone up twice.

There are several perks the participants get from playing, said assistant centre manager Benjamin Cheng, including exercising and making friends.

“They’re able to strategise and play the game. And by engaging … they boost their morale, they’re feeling that they are much better as a person. So they look forward to coming every time,” he added.

ENGAGING SENIORS BETTER

AIC and SportSG have trained more than 150 staff and volunteers in over 60 organisations to safely perform sports activities for seniors, especially those who use wheelchairs.

The goal is to better engage residents with activities other than the standard like tai chi or board games.

“We believe that through participation in fun activities, seniors can feel more connected and their well-being is improved and they are also able to bring out the much-needed laughter,” said AIC’s head of sector and partnerships Andy Seet.

Among other events funded by AIC are coding, making kombucha and drumming.

“We hope that you know, these activities will encourage the students to come down to the activity centres to do more,” said Mr Seet.

Robotics is another project that has been a hit at NTUC Health Active Ageing Centre with seniors, who enjoy the company of children who join them.

“When we interact with younger kids, it helps us connect better. For instance, my own child is always using his tablet to surf the internet. When I tell him that I am also learning coding, it gives us some common things to talk about,” said Madam Ng Hiong Ling.

ADDRESSING EVOLVING NEEDS


AIC is able to offer such choices by tapping a S$1.35 million fund that was set up in partnership with the Community Foundation of Singapore with funds from corporate donors like Capitaland and Singapore Pools.

Since November last year, AIC has funded 13 new projects.

The money has helped to innovate suitable programmes and address the evolving needs of seniors, said Mr Seet.

He added that the agency is also looking to address problems faced by active ageing centres.

“For example, (we want to help with) attracting male seniors to come to the centre, or even getting the socially isolated seniors out of their homes to come to the active ageing centre, or even enabling them to contribute back to the community to create a more positive and fun experience for them, he said.

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