A cove for seniors to age in place healthily and happily

WHEN 64-year-old Mdm Salmah Nasir first moved to Marsiling, she had few friends and was unfamiliar with her neighbourhood.

She also had difficulty walking after a knee operation and remained alone at home most of the time while her daughter was at work.

But now, she goes to her neighbourhood wellness centre, SilverCOVE, to exercise and mingle with other seniors.

“After I started doing the exercises, I don’t need my tongkat (walking stick) anymore. Twice a week, my friends from SilverCOVE and I will visit each other’s homes. Sometimes I will cook rice or laksa for them,” she said.

There are some 129 seniors like Madam Salmah who frequent the wellness centre, which was officially launched by NTUC Health on 19 April. The number is set to rise to 200 seniors by end this year as SilverCOVE reaches out to more seniors in Marsiling.

SilverCOVE works with several community partners to provide a range of facilities, services and activities to the residents living in the studio apartment in Marsiling Heights as well as other residents in the area.

The centre is also collaborating with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital which deploys nurses to be stationed at the centre twice a week to give health checks and provide basic medical advice.

For seniors who prefer Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the facility has a tie-up with a local chain, Eu Yan Sang, to offer consultations and treatment options. And there is even a dental service by NTUC Health’s Unity Denticare clinic.

With all the healthcare services, social interaction remains the main focus at the centre.

Every other week, pre-schoolers from NTUC’s My First Skool will visit the centre for inter-generational bonding activities such as terrarium-making, group exercises, festive celebrations and art-and-craft sessions with the seniors.

During the launch, Madam Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament and a Member of Parliament for the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC who graced the event, joined the seniors and children for a session of inter-generational mass exercise, which saw them working out to catchy music.

“I’m really very glad to see that SilverCOVE has worked closely with many community partners to create a community network for seniors where parties coordinate closely with each other, enabling seniors to enjoy a better quality of life when they age,” said Madam Halimah.

Clearly, the seniors are enjoying the services and facilities at the centre, like Shen Lai Jing, an 86-year-old retiree who exercises at SilverCOVE six times a week. Her almost-daily routine has helped reduce the pain in her knees.

“I exercise with the TV at the centre. It plays fitness videos and I follow the exercises. My knees used to be painful because of my age. Now, I don’t feel the pain as much!” she said.

Article published on: 4/5/2016