It was a morning of exuberant song and dance on 9 Feb 2018, when nearly 200 seniors, volunteers, grassroots leaders, government agency representatives, and members of the community celebrated the official opening of MWS Senior Activity Centre (SAC) – Teck Ghee Vista.
A lion dance troupe greeted the guest-of-honour, Dr Koh Poh Koon (right, trying out senior-friendly gym equipment), Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC). The Rev Melvin Huang dedicated the centre as Pastor-in-Charge of Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church (AMKMC), which is the centre’s partner church. This was followed by several heartfelt singing and dancing performances by the centre’s members, volunteers, and staff.
Located in Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, the centre is the latest SAC among a total of seven opened by MWS, to ramp up its continuum of eldercare services as a response to Singapore’s fast-ageing demographics.
It is MWS’ vision that seniors who come through its doors can be holistically and seamlessly served as they advance in age and experience changing needs. In addition to MWS SACs, MWS’ full spectrum of eldercare services encompasses assisted living, residential nursing and rehabilitative care, and home hospice services.
Over the past two years, MWS rapidly expanded its services in the eldercare sector and put its focus on seniors living in non-rental flats. To date, out of MWS’ 20 centres and programmes, 12 are in the eldercare sector.
Said Dr Koh, “The government welcomes the partnership of non-profit organisations like MWS in meeting the critical needs of the ageing population. The MWS Senior Activity Centre is serving the growing group of middle- and lower-income seniors in HDB heartlands. It is notable that MWS is providing a continuum of eldercare services to cater to seniors in different stages of their ageing needs.”
MWS SAC – Teck Ghee Vista reaches out to older persons aged 55 and above, and from low- to middle-income groups. It engages mainly residents of studio apartments in Block 307C Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, of which over 70 per cent are 65 years old and above. Almost six in ten of these elderly live alone.
Such seniors are at a stage when they stop working, become empty-nesters, or find that their social networks are falling away. Some of them also have mobility issues.
They are at a higher risk of being socially isolated or lonely, which can lead to depression and other mental or emotional problems.
MWS Group Executive Director Mrs Jenny Bong said, “MWS Senior Activity Centre – Teck Ghee Vista supports seniors in the community, enabling them to remain healthy, active and happy. We do not see seniors as simply consumers of services or programmes, but also as active contributors to their own well-being and the community.”
Designed as an inviting communal space, the centre operates Mondays to Fridays. Facilities include a state-of-the-art gym, a kitchen, a karaoke room, a social space, and an outdoor exercise area. The centre is also equipped with an alert alarm system that offers timely help to senior folks living in the HDB block of studio apartments next door.
Programmes range from daily morning exercises and line-dancing, to sing-along sessions and mentally-stimulating table games, to craft and cooking lessons. The centre holds ad-hoc health talks, wellness screenings, and excursions. There are also opportunities for seniors to volunteer in conducting classes or running programmes.
Every day, the centre also receives the help of regular volunteers from AMKMC, which has supported MWS in setting up the centre’s operations, funding it, and continuing to be involved in its programmes.
By the Methodist Welfare Services Communications Team
Photos courtesy of the Methodist Welfare Services