By TOUCH Community Services
When 84-year-old Mdm Chew Swee Lay underwent a knee replacement surgery a few years ago, she was alone and depressed. Today, Mdm Chew takes part in activities at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433, meets residents for meals and chats with neighbours using WhatsApp videocalls. She also invites neighbours to exercise with her and looks out for other vulnerable seniors.
A sustainable care solution
TOUCH piloted the Community Enablement Project or CEP in 2016, to build a local network in Ang Mo Kio that encapsulates TOUCH’s vision to build Strong Families, Caring Generations and Enabled Communities. The CEP targets 12,000 residents in a 32-block precinct within the Cheng San-Seletar constituency of Ang Mo Kio. Drawing on our range of services and coordinating efforts with multiple stakeholders, TOUCH seeks to enable residents in Ang Mo Kio to stay happy, healthy and helpful.
While knocking on doors to survey residents’ interests and needs, we came across seniors like Mdm Chew, who needed a helping hand.
With our survey findings, we began to journey with residents and collaborated with partners to anchor the Ang Mo Kio Partners’ Network. More than 60 organisations have since come together to pool resources to better coordinate care in the region. Quarterly sessions are held to discuss shared goals and new initiatives like the Inclusive Dementia-Friendly Communities (IDFC) to promote better dementia awareness and management.
Improving use of community space
The setting up of TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 in 2019 – our key CEP platform – also involved the creative use of community space from the void deck extending to the car park. It has been a learning journey for us as we worked with different government bodies to create this space, such as the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Housing & Development Board.
As a conducive care environment also takes into account infrastructural requirements and housing design, we worked with residents, the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, AMKFSC Community Services and our own occupational therapists to conduct town audits to enhance safety and accessibility.
All hands on deck
Our CEP efforts go beyond the confines of TOUCHpoint@AMK 433. Working with our partners, we identify and utilise other community amenities such as neighbouring void decks, RC offices and amphitheatres. The additional eyes and ears of shop owners, Town Council workers and other service providers in the precinct add to this community of care.
Social Service Agencies like TOUCH can be the catalyst and anchor for such collaborative, enabling work as we build stronger care networks by leveraging resources to support ageing in the community.