In the face of a rapidly aging population, it is increasingly important to help the elderly live an enriching and active life. Two Tzu Chi eldercare centres, which are known as the Seniors Engagement & Enabling Node (SEEN), were inaugurated on 14th and 28th September, respectively, in the presence of the MPs of the respective districts. The centres, which have been opened for three months, are located in Bukit Batok and Jurong West, respectively.
In his opening speech, Tzu Chi Singapore’s CEO Low Swee Seh said that as Singapore’s population ages, there is a growing need for healthcare services. He added that Tzu Chi is honoured to be able to establish the two eldercare centres, which serve senior citizens living in Bukit Batok and Jurong West.
“The Seniors Engagement & Enabling Node has comprehensive gym and rehabilitation facilities. We also have a medical team that offers assistance to elderly residents who need medical attention and hope that the centres will take care of the body and mind of the seniors,” he said.
Bukit Batok MP Mr Murali Pillai recalled his first encounter with Tzu Chi at a New Year dinner, and he was aware that the residents in his district needed a senior activity centre. He shared that he had witnessed how Tzu Chi’s philosophy and values match with the needs of the community, and thus he was confident that the organisation will be able to collaborate with partners in the community to provide comprehensive services to the seniors.
Chua Chu Kang MP Mr Yee Chia Hsing was the Guest of Honour at the inauguration ceremony of Tzu Chi’s Seniors Engagement & Enabling Node in Jurong West, a.k.a. SEEN@Nanyang. He encouraged senior citizens to invite their neighbours to come to the eldercare centre to socialise instead of staying at home all day. This would not only help to prevent age-related illnesses, such as depression and dementia, but also allow the seniors to exercise their limbs, which could help them prevent osteoporosis and enable them to keep fit.
Residents from both Bukit Batok and Jurong West presented two heart-warming Tzu Chi sign language songs at the inauguration ceremonies. Among the residents was Chew Siam Gek, who would go to the Seniors Engagement & Enabling Node to participate in its exercise programme after she has finished doing housework in the morning.
“We are practising a dance item for visitors to see. I feel so happy!” she said, smiling cheerfully.
Another resident, Mdm Cheng, said, “I don’t really know how to perform, but I don’t feel so nervous when I’m doing it with everyone. I can come here to make friends and learn new knowledge, so I don’t have to worry about getting dementia.”
Li Shu Yue, another senior citizen, has invited over a dozen friends to exercise at the eldercare centre in these two months.
“I feel that the atmosphere here is very good. It is filled with humanistic vibes,” she remarked happily.
80-year-old Lin Yue Chan joined the Pressed Flower Class at the Seniors Engagement & Enabling Node, and she has attended three lessons. She was impressed at how meticulous the class’s teacher was and said that the latter would patiently explain the different ways of making pressed flowers for bookmarks, magnets and key chains.
At the inauguration ceremony of SEEN@Bukit Batok, Lin Yue Chan and her old friend of over 60 years, Lin Yue Bao were seen there together. Yue Bao was very happy and satisfied with the services provided by the eldercare centre.
She shared, “My knees are weak, but after undergoing rehabilitation and doing stretching exercises here, I feel that my muscles are no longer so stiff. The physiotherapist is very friendly and the fees are cheap, too.”
67-year-old retiree Xu Shu Jin is a kind and helpful resident. She served tea to the other seniors at the inauguration ceremony.
“I bring my grandson here to do exercise. We can also learn to make bags to give to others. The facilities here are very good. We can relax ourselves here, and it gives us inner sustenance,” said Xu.
SEEN’s Manager Eve Zhong said that a unique feature of the eldercare centres is a team of Tzu Chi volunteers who are rostered to keep the seniors company each day. Many of the volunteers belong to the same age group as the seniors and they get along very well, like a family.
She added that if the seniors have any needs or requests, SEEN’s staff or volunteers will provide assistance promptly, and that the eldercare centres also promote Jing Si Aphorisms and all natural/eco-friendly Jing Si products to encourage healthy diets.
“We will also be cooperating with other partners in the community to organise more activities,” said Eve.