Imagine a future where you could live at home right up till you were 100 years old, never mind if you were sick, healthy or in between. What sort of support would you require? Who could call on for help? How will systems be designed to meet your needs yet encourage you to aspire towards a better quality of life?
Welcome to the future here at Whampoa.
For almost two years now, a team of community builders, healthcare professionals and grassroots activists from Tsao Foundation have been quietly laying the foundation for a more senior-friendly neighbourhood. They have gone door-to-door to find out the needs and desires of residents and piloted a care support system to coordinate and integrate the care that seniors, especially those with multiple chronic conditions, receive.
Tsao is also in the midst of expanding their flagship SCOPE (Self Care on Health of Older Persons) programme to more seniors. The programme is designed to raise health literacy levels so that seniors can take charge of their own well-being.
Having attended it at Whampoa Gardens Residents’ Committee (RC) Centre, 76-year-old Mdm Kee Moi Heok is now more confident of asking questions of her doctors. In the past, she would simply have obeyed the rules. At one of her medical appointments, she noticed something different about the new supply of pills meant for her breathlessness. The colour of the packaging was red whereas in the past, it was all-white. Did they make a mistake? Were they trying a new drug on her without telling her? She went and asked the nurse and found that the drug company had merely changed the packaging. The contents were the same.
SCOPE also taught Mdm Kee how to eat and exercise right as well as how to care for herself mentally, physically and emotionally. Says the grandmother of six, “Now I cut down on my meat and rice intake and eat more fruits. And if the doctor tells me that I must have my blood taken, I will request to know the results on the same day so I don’t have to make the effort to come by again…I need to have a conversation with the doctor.”
SCOPE’s impact goes beyond the seniors. RC Manager Amy who attended SCOPE with the seniors says the course has given them valuable knowledge to build on “Now the seniors ask what food we can cook that is nutritious and they treat this place like a home. Everyone helps and learns from one another.”