SENIOR citizens in Sungai Long and the surrounding areas can count themselves lucky. The Circles of 5 enriched living programme is starting at the Hospital Sungai Long on Feb 9, 2015
Organised by the Aged Care Group (ACG), Circles will offer a variety of programmes to keep senior citizens busy as they pick up new skills and make new friends.
“When they come in, we will do a care assessment (Circles of 5 Wellbeing Care Assessment), and then work out a person-centred care plan where the professional services, programmes/activities, talks/workshops will be recommended.
“Subsequently, we will do a one-month followup care assessment. From here, we will review the care plan and make further referrals or recommendations as needed. The goal of the Circles Enriched Living Programme (CELP) is to enhance the client’s 5 Circles of Wellbeing, which will ultimately lead to better quality of life,” says Lim Suat Ping, health psychologist at ACG.
Circles of 5 seeks to look at the senior citizen’s health holistically. It would cover the physical, mental, emotional, social and financial wellbeing. The theory is that if any one of these areas is lacking, the senior citizen will not be able to live happily and healthily.
Among the activities that will be held at Circles are:
- Silver Surfing – Teaches senior citizens how to use the computer and surf the Internet.
- Food Art – A simplified version of making bento boxes.
- Creative Art – Teaches senior citizens to repurpose recycled items.
- Reminiscent Talk – Gets the elderly to talk about their lives.
- Music and Memory – Memory activity using the senior citizens’ favourite music.
There will also be a financial board game so the elderly can learn about taking care of their money. In addition, there will be workshops and talks on financial wellbeing.
There will be different activities daily and even if an elderly chooses to go for the same activity all mongh (for example Creative Art), what is taught in each session/class will not be the same. This way the senior citizen will not feel bored.
The sessions will be flexible when it comes to language. It will cater to the language(s) that the participants understand.
According to Lim, if it’s a mixed audience, the sessions will be in English and translated as needed into Malay and Mandarin. If it’s an all-Chinese group, then the activity will be conducted in Mandarin.
The sessions are more for the elderly, but the carers are encouraged to come in with them. ACG also plans to have workshops or talks for the elderly’s support group (carers and families). Every week, these workshops/talks will focus on different topics, and participants will be able to share their experiences and challenges.
“We hope the elderly will join us to learn new skills like how to make crafts or jewellery, how to make good use of recycled items and how to use the computer.
“We also want them to learn how to take good care of their emotional health,” says Lim.
According to her, although the target market is senior citizens, Circles’ activities is open to all age groups. However, ACG expects to get more elderly, homemakers and children who are not in school yet.
If a family of three generations are at a loose end, they may just make a visit to Circles to learn a new skill and spend time together as well.
“At Circles, we will look at the five circles of wellbeing so it’s just good for the elderly, but for everyone. They can make their life purposeful by taking part in the activities, learn new skills, and we hope to improve their overall quality of life.
“They might be able to pick up some of these skills elsewhere but not all in one place. As for the elderly, some nursing homes might offer the facilities for things like table tennis and karaoke, but it’s up to the elderly to organise the activities themselves.
“We hope to take the senior citizens back to their youth so that they can feel young again. Don’t think that you’re old and have to just stay at home. Think about it – you have been working hard your whole life and now you’re retired and just spending time at home doing the same routine every day. What a waste! Your life can still be meaningful at Circles,” says Lim.
One interesting activity offered in the Circles programme is physical fitness, run by Synapse Physiotherapy.
According to physiotherapist Lian Yun Perng, the programme will be a bit different every day. There will be aerobics, strengthening, stretching and balancing classes.
While you might be able to learn some of these exercises on the Internet, Lian says there is no way to know if you are doing the right exercise for your body, taking into account your physical needs. Plus, without supervision, there is a good chance you might not be doing the exercise correctly.
Lian says that for people who are ageing, physical fitness exercises like balancing and strengthening exercises are good as they will help prevent falls. With good balance, strength and flexibility, the chances of falling are less, he says.
“For good balance, three systems are involved – your eyes, your vestibular system – a balancing system in your brain, and your body awareness.
“All of these can be trained. When we do balancing exercises, we challenge you a bit. It will be easy enough to do but hard enough to challenge you.
“Avoiding falls is important, especially for women, whose chances of having osteoporosis is high after they menopause. Most of them when they fall will fracture their hip and require surgery. They might need a plate or a new hip. That is not good because it means they will be bed-bound for quite a long time. And, if not motivated, it can cause them to have urinary tract infection (UTI) or other issues. They might lose their confidence in walking and then they might be bed-bound forever, just because of one fall.
“So, then they would be restricted to the home and that’s not good for their wellbeing. It can also lead to depression.,” says Lian.
In addition, all participants are assessed beforehand to make sure it’s safe for them to participate and also to know which programmes will be helpful for their total wellness.
“We recommend our session to people of all fitness levels. We will accommodate our participants and it will be quite enjoyable. We might have circuit training or weights or just our body weight exercises, or simple aerobics to warm up. If they are older, we will tailor it to their level and capabilities,” says Lian.
Another interesting session is the Expressive Art and Arts & Crafts Programme by artist Felicia Loh from The Art Mind (http://the-art-mind.blogspot.com/).
Expressive Art will teach participants about expressing their feelings with a given theme. The interesting session will be the one with music. This is where they have to close their eyes and listen to the music and feel the music, and then express how they feel on paper.
For the Arts & Crafts programme, Loh will teach participants crafts like paper quilling and how to design a card – birthday or anniversary, for example. The paper and tools will be provided in the class.
“It will be over six months, so I will break up the crafts into a few sessions so that there is enough time in each session and it is not too tiring for them.
“The paper quilling might take a few sessions because one session will just be on learning how to quill and the next I will teach them how to design it on a card,” says Loh.
She also teaches adult arts and crafts workshops when invited by companies. She has done workshops at Maybank as well as The Star‘s Femme City exhibition.
However, this is her first time having a programme for senior citizens.
“I think it will be helpful to the senior citizens for their physical and mental health so they won’t just be sitting at home not knowing what to do with their time,” says Loh.
The Circles of 5 enriched living programme begins on Feb 9, 2015 at the Hospital Sungai Long (2nd floor). There will be a break for Chinese New Year from Feb 18-March 1, 2015. It will resume on March 2, 2015. The fee ranges from RM15 (pay as you go) to RM380 for the season pass.
For more information, call (03) 2142 7166.