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Helping seniors on rehab stay active with boxing and football

Hannah Bock on 12 Sep 2019

The Straits Times


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As seniors are sometimes reluctant to continue with their rehabilitation, a new approach sees them taking boxing lessons and playing football to get them excited about getting better.


For 81-year-old Ho Ah Eng, who has an unsteady gait and lower-limb injury, weekly boxing classes have helped improve his balance and strength.


Boxing has become his favourite activity at the Telok Blangah Senior Care Centre in Block 92, Telok Blangah Street 31.


"It is definitely interesting, and I feel I have learnt a new sport and skill too," said Mr Ho, who has been going there every day since May when he joined the centre.


Eldercare provider Active Global Home & Community Care officially launched the centre and an active ageing hub located next door yesterday.


At the centre, seniors can take penalty shots during a football lesson or throw punches during a boxing class, to help them overcome their reluctance to continue with their rehabilitation. The activities are designed to complement their core physiotherapy programme.


The centre introduced the activities last month after learning that seniors were finding the rehabilitation exercises dreary and repetitive. Going through physiotherapy was also depressing for many as they associated it with visits to the doctor over their state of health.


Ms Yorelle Kalika, 44, chief executive of Active Global Caregivers, said: "Usually, people are very reluctant because each time they have rehab, it reminds them of bad news."


Active Global Home & Community Care is a division under Active Global Caregivers.


Since the Telok Blangah Senior Care Centre opened in January, more than 137 seniors have registered with the centre, which has a games room, karaoke room and nature lounge alongside rehabilitation and treatment rooms.


It also has a quiet sensory room specially designed to help dementia patients calm down.


The adjacent active ageing hub offers other seniors in the neighbourhood free access to its gym, pantry and social space, which hosts daily workshops and discussions facilitated by volunteers.


The centre places a strong emphasis on being accessible to seniors and caregivers, and is open seven days a week and even on public holidays.


It also provides door-to-door transport for seniors in Telok Blangah, Bukit Merah, Alexandra, Chinatown and Tiong Bahru.


The services at the centre can be covered by Medifund and there are government subsidies of up to 80 per cent.


Mr Lim Hng Kiang, special adviser at the Trade and Industry Ministry, who was guest of honour at the launch, said as Singapore's ageing population increases steadily, it is important to have an innovative healthcare system to meet senior citizens' dynamic needs.


Mr Lim, who is a West Coast GRC MP, commended the centre in particular for appealing to male senior citizens, who are typically more conservative and not as amenable to outreach programmes.


Madam Ng Ai Bee, 73, said the activities bring back childhood memories of playing games with friends. "When we play mini-golf and everyone at the centre cheers for us, we don't realise we are exercising our bodies while having fun," she said.


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



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