SINGAPORE – Recovered Covid-19 patient Sity Ngainsiyah Salamon, 62, lost motivation to exercise after her weekly stretching class was suspended in September due to a spike in new daily cases of Covid-19.
Although her coaches at the En Community Services Society – one of the People’s Association (PA) partners – posted workout videos to a WhatsApp group she was a part of, she didn’t feel like going through the routines. .
But when the PA resumed classes and activities from last Monday (November 1) for fully vaccinated seniors aged 60 and over and those who have recovered from Covid-19, Madame Sity immediately recovered. in the furrow.
Radiant with joy, she was one of 30 seniors dancing to a mix of pop music tracks at the Pasir Ris Elias Community Club last Tuesday morning.
She told the Straits Times: “The instructors remember us all and they know our medical conditions.
“To me, they know I get dizzy sometimes when I stand up because I have low blood pressure, so they tell me I don’t need to do certain movements.”
The resumption of the selected programs comes as vaccination and recall rates among seniors have increased, following the deployment of mobile teams and advertising trucks in the heart of the country.
At the end of last month, there were 68,000 unvaccinated elderly people, up from 200,000 in July.
Some of the PA activities that will gradually resume include live performances of getai in community centers and SingapoRediscovers tours.
Other social service agencies that serve the elderly are also preparing to resume small-group activities once they receive permission from the authorities.
Care Corner Singapore, which serves 13,300 elderly people in nine centers, plans to resume clay art and canvas painting classes after November 21, when the current Covid-19 stabilization phase is expected to begin. to end.
Ms. Sharon Tang, Head of the Active Aging Group at Care Corner, noted that while some programs such as bingo can take place on Zoom, nothing replaces physical presence in others.
She said: “Arts and crafts classes that involve step-by-step instruction, such as origami, will be more suitable for a physical class.”
Lions Befrienders president Anthony Tay said the group’s 10 centers remain open to seniors, but they have to sit in zones of two and be given tablets in order to virtually attend workouts.
The organization serves more than 8,000 seniors.
Mr. Tay added: “As of September, our trainers are not allowed to visit the centers.
“Although we have had online or hybrid sessions, some of our seniors skip the physical classes because they tend to lose their focus when there is no one around to call their names and keep their attention.”
To find ways to keep seniors’ virtual engagement, NTUC Health converted one of its rooms at its Geylang East Seniors Daycare into a virtual reality space.
Pre-recorded scenes from tourist attractions such as Haw Par Villa or cultural districts like Chinatown are projected on the walls, so older people can take turns entering the room to “visit” these destinations.
The Department of Health said last Tuesday that it recognizes that reducing social interactions can have a negative impact on the socio-emotional and mental well-being of older people.
He added: “Center-based services, including exercise and cognitive activities, remain available, albeit with reduced capacity and safe management measures.
“We are working to increase them in light of the extended stabilization phase. As the Covid-19 situation stabilizes, we aim for more partners to gradually resume operations.”