Tuesday, June 22, 2021

How Peacehaven Brought Smiles to Seniors’ Faces Through Purposeful Play


The golden years are often referred to as a second childhood, where things of old are seen as new, and ‘play’ becomes a form of healthy motivation. While ‘purposeful play’ is often adopted by teaching professionals for early childhood education, the concept is applicable to the elderly as well. By engaging in purposeful play, seniors areencouraged to move or exercise while having fun. The Salvation Army Peacehaven in Singapore understood this and embarked on a mission to improve the lives of seniors at their homes and centres through purposeful play.

An Inter-generational lifestyle club to bring fun into the daily lives of seniors

In November 2019, the Jade Circle Arena (JCA) was developed in Peacehaven Jade Circle, which is an extension of The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home in Changi.

Launched with a vision of giving seniors in Peacehaven a more enriching life, JCA turns routine activities, such as exercising, into something fun. Designed as an inter-generational lifestyle club, it allows the young and old to play and interact in a safe environment. The experience promotes intergenerational interaction, enhances seniors' self-esteem, and supports their physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.

Walking into JCA is akin to walking into a theme park – visitors will be greeted by an array of colourful lights and a cheery atmosphere. At the entrance, visitors will see a Heritage Gallery and LED wall. Mahjong, tea and handicraft sets decorate the space, while videos and images projected on the walls exude homely vibes.

JCA houses a wide range of recreation and fitness stations to help seniors live actively and meaningfully. Through the sports activities, seniors can challenge their physical and mental capacity through fun yet purposeful and functional 'play'. Some of these engagements include stations with arcade game machines, physical treks and specially customised cognitive games.

Recreation and fitness stations help seniors live an active lifestyle.

There are also many games that appeal to the young at JCA, making it the perfect place for mingling and bonding among children, parents and grandparents.

At the ‘Gym Tonic’ corner, seniors can use the tools and equipment to work with healthcare professionals on their rehabilitation programmes.

Seniors using the exercise equipment.

Just around the corner is the ‘Wading Pool’ where seniors can engage in simple exercises while putting less pressure on their joints as they are supported by water. In the wading pool, seniors can get active with the guidance of JCA staff to exercise their cognitive alertness while enjoying the benefits of hydrotherapy on improving balance, mobility and relieving aching muscles.

A staff member at Peacehaven Jade Circle Arena (JCA) demonstrates an activity in the wading pool.

Seniors would also enjoy the fun atmosphere in the indoor arcade space. From ‘Whack-A-Mole’ games to ‘Fish Arcade’, the entire area is filled with interactive and exciting games!

Senior playing arcade-style games of their choice at JCA.

There are also foosball tables, and street basketball stands, as well as multi-player games to facilitate interaction amongst the seniors.

Seniors playing “Whack-A-Mole” game at JCA.

Senior engagement through technology adoption

JCA was built with the vision to effectively empower seniors to participate in the activities independently instead of following a schedule. That is why technology is used to help Peacehaven embrace client-led activity choices. Seniors decide which activities to explore on their own – and when they want to – at JCA, with the support of care staff.

A senior using virtual reality for rehabilitation with the assistance of a JCA staff.

Technology is widely used to create exciting activities and rehabilitation programmes to engage seniors in non-conventional ways. JCA has an immersive room known as the Joyland Room that draws seniors into new worlds of virtual reality! In the Joyland Room, seniors can experience an exciting new form of rehabilitation and be transported into different realities via games. All the game equipment and sessions are rotated quarterly so the seniors always have something to look forward to. This activity aims to stimulate seniors’ interest and allow them to try new experiences.

Seniors interacting with projections in the Joyland Room at JCA.

Beyond fun and games, technology adoption projects have also been utilised to streamline operating processes and improve general clinical quality. Peacehaven leverages technology to help find new ways to detect specific illnesses. Technological adoptions have also played an important part when it comes to food and nutrition development. All these components contribute to the overall wellbeing of seniors and have earned them recognition among sector professionals.

100% success rate on improvement in seniors’ well being

To monitor the effectiveness of the various programmes, Peacehaven adopted the Well-being Profile (WBP) to map the journey of each client using a Person-Centred Care (PCC) approach. The measurement was used to explore areas that may enhance seniors' daily experiences.

The Well-being Profile (WBP) scores were measured pre- and post-introduction of the activities and surroundings at JCA. The report showed that 100% of the clients who took part had an improvement in their WBP score. The staff also noted that they heard more laughter from clients, and noticed them smiling more often after doing the activities.

This format also benefits the staff because by allowing the seniors to decide for themselves what activity they wish to do, the staff can focus more on the caring aspect, instead of the operational aspect of the programme. As staff are stationed at individual stations, it also encourages a closer bond between the client and the staff.

Award-winning initiatives that earned the recognition of the Community Care sector

The Salvation Army Peacehaven team certainly deserved the hallmark for making quality continuous improvement. In 2020, they won the Team Merit Award at the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) Community Care Excellence Awards for the WBP project. The Award embodies the outstanding quality improvement demonstrated by Peacehaven in the Community Care sector.

Peacehaven will continue to develop programmes such as JCA as their concept of engagement through play have promoted client volition and proactivity. In any care setting, the facility's ability to elicit and sustain their clients’ alertness and receptivity for communication will positively impact the clients' well-being, and make them the happiest person under Peacehaven’s good care.

Click here for more information about Jade Circle Arena.

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