Wednesday, July 10, 2019

How a Space in Ang Mo Kio is Empowering Its Residents

Imagine a space where seniors can learn skills, exercise, attend health checks, and look out for one another. At the newly-launched TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 by TOUCH Community Services, seniors can do just that and more.

TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 is Singapore’s first activity node that aims to support seniors holistically. This conveniently located local care eco-system brings healthcare and social services to the Ang Mo Kio community.

The facility is part of TOUCH’s pilot Community Enablement Project (CEP). The project aims to activate communities to provide a safe, mutually-supporting, and stimulating environment for seniors to age in. It explores sustainable and practical care solutions for seniors to reduce their care needs and strives to strengthen support networks. All these efforts work towards empowering seniors to take charge of their own lives and watch out for frail peers so that they can age well in the community.

Creative Use of Community Spaces

A key element of TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 is its open and welcoming environment, with most of it accessible 24/7. Its community spaces extend from indoors to outdoors, providing a conducive environment for residents' activities. To ensure that the area is senior-friendly, safe and accessible, an audit was conducted by TOUCH’s therapists, the town council, and elderly residents.

The wide and open area offers a conducive environment for residents to gather for activities.
Guest of Honour Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong (centre) with TOUCH Founding Chairman Mr Lawrence Khong (second from left) and TOUCH Chief Executive Officer Mr James Tan (first from left) and TOUCH supporters at the launch of TOUCHpoint@AMK 433. Photo credit: Ministry of Communications & Information

Customised Strength Training Programme

The facility houses a Day Rehabilitation Centre and runs Lien Foundation’s Gym Tonic – a senior-friendly strength training programme that fights frailty. TOUCH’s team of therapists conduct specialty classes targeting specific mobility, strength and coordination challenges. These classes are suitable for seniors with osteoarthritis or have a fear of falls, as well as seniors who are fit.

Residents attending classes given by TOUCH’s therapists under the Gym Tonic Strength Training programme.

Programmes to Help Seniors Regain Independence

TOUCH also actively seeks out frail seniors to help them regain their strength and independence. At TOUCHpoint@AMK 433, weekly exercise sessions are held to increase seniors’ mobility so that they can be re-abled to handle simple day-to-day tasks. There are also health talks and psychosocial programmes for seniors to better understand how they can take care of their health.

Residents attending exercise sessions to improve their mobility and keep active.

Empowering Residents to Support Seniors

One of the key parts of CEP is to encourage residents to establish informal networks of care. To achieve this, TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 engages its residents with the relevant skills and nurtures them to be community resources. Specialists from different fields are engaged to help residents to not only care for themselves but their loved ones and neighbours as well.

Residents taking part in an interactive activity by Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Advance Care Planning.
Ang Mo Kio residents engage their befriendees with their newly acquired arts and craft skills at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433.

Encouraging One Another to Live Well with Diabetes

TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 also runs the Diabetes Peer Support group by TOUCH Diabetes Support (TDS). Over a course of 12 weeks, TDS’ nurse educator holds talks and coaching sessions with residents to create greater awareness about diabetes and how to manage the chronic disease. Residents also organised meet-ups in their neighbourhood to share health tips, with some volunteering as peer coaches to mentor newer attendees.

TOUCH’s Diabetes Nurse Educator, Ms Esther Bong, holding a session on learning to live well with diabetes with support from residents.
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