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Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital officially opens first active ageing hub

Zhaki Abdullah on 11 Nov 2017

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE - To meet the needs of elderly residents in the Kallang and Whampoa region, the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH) opened a community care centre at McNair Road.


The centre, which was officially opened on Saturday (Nov 11), is the first active ageing hub under the Health Ministry's (MOH) plan to build 10 such hubs in new public housing estates.


The hubs are part of a $3 billion plan, first announced in 2015 by MOH, to help Singaporeans lead active lives as they age.


The new centre - which is open from Monday to Friday between 7am and 7pm - provides rehabilitative care as well as social programmes for the benefit of residents in the area, complementing services offered by the hospital on Serangoon Road.


The event on Saturday also saw the signing of an agreement between KWSH and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to collaborate on identifying and developing technology to be used in its community care centres, senior care centres and nursing homes. 


These include an "interactive therapeutic mouse", designed by students from the Ngee Ann Polytechnic School of Engineering, that aims to stave off dementia by allowing senior citizens to safely exercise their cognitive and motor skills with an easy-to-use toy.


KWSH will also be responsible for another active ageing hub under the MOH initiative, which is set to open at St George's Lane in 2019.


Since the McNair Road centre's soft opening three months ago, more than 500 elderly have paid the nominal fee of $5 a year for membership.


It gives them access to a gym designed for seniors, and activities such as line-dancing and IT classes.


One member, Madam Sumoi Paramesvari, goes to the centre daily to exercise and chat with friends.


"Sometimes I make handicrafts too," said the 77-year-old, adding she wants to teach cooking to other residents in the area.


Another resident, Mr Low Hin Choy, 87, is receiving rehabilitative care at the centre after recently suffering a fall, and is also learning how to use a mobility scooter to help him move around more easily.


The centre - which has more than 40 daycare places for elderly residents - also serves 100 housebound residents in the area, providing them with medical care in their homes. 


Once the new centre at St. George's Lane - just a five minute walk away from the one at McNair Road - is open in two years time (2019), the two centres will together be able to serve 1,500 elderly residents, said chief executive officer Dr Ow Chee Chung. 


"The new centre will be a clubhouse focusing on sports, arts and other recreation activities," he said of the St. George's Lane facility.


Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor, who attended the event, said active ageing hubs will provide the elderly with opportunities to volunteer as well as receive the medical care they need. 


"By twinning both types of services, we hope to help seniors age healthily, engage them socially and provide care and support when they become frail."


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


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