By Methodist Welfare Services (MWS)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seven Senior Activity Centres (SACs) under Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) serving over 1,100 seniors have been closed since 10 February 2020. However, this has not deterred its volunteers who have, since day one, been faithfully reaching out to the seniors to encourage them and care for them in new ways.
One key initiative, the Community Befriending Programme in which senior volunteers are galvanised to identify and engage home-bound seniors in the community, has continued till today.
MWS SACs also collaborate with volunteers and community partners to offer programmes that integrate health and wellness activities to meet the seniors' psychosocial, emotional and learning needs. Many of these programmes were conducted by the volunteers online during the circuit breaker period, with some resuming physical sessions due to the lifting of some restrictions.
Here are the highlights of the efforts:
Connecting via Phone Calls
Volunteers stepped forward to make telephone calls to the seniors in order to keep in touch with them during the circuit breaker period, as well as the span of time when safe distancing regulations limited the number of seniors coming to the centres.
"Among us are those who live alone and have few friends. A phone call to show concern brings love and cheer to them," said Ms Stephenie Lim, a volunteer.
Virtual Line Dancing
During the circuit breaker period, Ms Diana Lim, the Line Dance volunteer instructor at MWS Charis ACE – Geylang East, took the dance sessions online.
"I enjoy line dancing and I wanted to help the seniors at MWS Charis ACE to stay active during the circuit breaker period. Line dancing is an interesting form of exercise for the seniors to stay in good health when they were unable to go out," she shared.
Since Phase 2 kicked in, Diana has been conducting line dancing on-site at the centre, with the necessary safe distancing measures in place.
Online Ukulele Jamming
To continue to connect with the seniors after the circuit breaker period, MWS Charis ACE – Geylang East also introduced online Ukulele Jamming sessions.
"We started weekly Ukulele Jamming via Zoom since May 2020. The intention was to stay in touch with the seniors whom we have built strong relationships with in the Ukulele interest group," said Mr Richard Tan, the volunteer instructor.
Safe Resumption of Activities
With the gradual lifting of some restrictions, volunteers were eager to come back to the centres to help out with all sorts of activities, from exercises to Bingo sessions.
It is such a joy to exercise with seniors in the neighbourhood; we're just like one big family. As long as everyone cooperates by observing good hygiene, safe distancing and mask-wearing, we can exercise together and stay safe,"
~ Mdm BC Ang, who led a "Wu Xing Jian Kang" exercise session at MWS SAC — Teck Ghee Vista
I am thankful to be able to return to the centre to befriend the seniors. Though we have to adhere to the safe distancing measures, getting together in small groups enabled me to interact with them more personally. I am glad most of them are keeping well, and hearing their laughter has brought me much joy,"
~ Mr Max Goh, who conducted a Bingo session at MWS Wesley SAC – Jalan Berseh
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Issue 5: October 2020