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Former educator Sarjit Kaur Khosa stays active at 86

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Jac Woo on 17 Feb 2019

The Straits Times

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Octogenarian Sarjit Kaur Khosa keeps herself active by organising Active Ageing Programmes for fellow seniors

 

At the age of 86, former educator Mrs Sarjit Kaur Khosa could have settled into a relaxing life away from bustling classrooms.

 

Instead, she is busy organising Active Ageing Programmes (AAPs) for seniors in her community, who are mostly younger than her.

 

AAPs are exercise sessions, workshops and social activities that encourage the elderly to stay active, healthy and socially engaged.

 

“I look forward to planning events and organising activities. I think it’s because I was a career woman that I need to organise my day. It keeps me active,” says Mrs Khosa, a retired teacher and former vice-principal of Anderson Secondary School.

 

While she loved sports and playing netball in her youth, her interests shifted to reading, teaching and doing social work as she grew older and started her career.

 

A widow now, with a 55-year-old son who has settled down overseas, Mrs Khosa lives with a helper, but is very independent. The sprightly octogenarian is physically active and still drives.

 

“I think I can drive better than I walk,” she says with a laugh.

 

STARTED WITH CHAIR YOGA

 

About 12 years ago, Mrs Khosa came across Chair Yoga when she participated in the sessions at WINGS (Women’s Initiative for Ageing Successfully).

 

Chair Yoga is a modified form of yoga, where the poses can be done while one is seated in a chair.

 

“Yoga is typically done on the floor but many seniors have problems sitting on the ground. I enjoyed Chair Yoga and felt that it would be very suitable for the old ladies in my community, who usually just sit around in the temple to pass the time,” she recalls.

 

In 2007, she spearheaded the Chair Yoga programme at the Singapore Khalsa Association Ladies Wing.

 

Thereafter, she helped to organise Chair Yoga and other programmes for seniors at the Sikh Welfare Council (SIWEC).

 

“We now have almost 200 participants in two temples — Central Sikh Gurdwara and Silat Road Sikh Temple,” says Mrs Khosa, who is in SIWEC’s management committee.

 

The activities organised there are mainly for seniors aged above 65, and include health talks by the Health Promotion Board, as well as exercise sessions, handicraft workshops and fun-filled outings to attractions like Gardens by the Bay and the Night Safari.

 

The programmes are usually held on weekday afternoons, with breaks during the school holidays, when the seniors may want to spend more time with their families.

 

WHAT KEEPS HER GOING

 

Mrs Khosa feels very encouraged by the enthusiasm and positive changes in the participants.

 

She shares: “Some of them were feeling negative earlier — they didn’t know how to pass their time and were depressed because their children had no time for them.

 

“After joining the activities, they became very happy because they have a social circle now.

 

“Even those in wheelchairs come along with their helpers to join our activities.”

 

She is also glad that many of them saw the activities as an opportunity to meet friends and get out of the house, and were always asking for more.

 

During the holiday break, some would tell her, “We don’t want a break” or “When are you starting another session?”

 

Some with fractures even attended the activities, bandages and all, saying: “We just want to watch and listen. We won’t do the exercises.”

 

She finds the letters of appreciation she receives from family members of the participants very encouraging, as they noticed positive changes in their loved ones after attending the programmes.

 

She is glad that she can play a role in helping both the elderly community and herself to lead more active and healthier lifestyles.

 

“I am very happy with what I am doing. Although I have some aches and pain in my knees, I keep on moving,” she says.

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

 

 

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