More seniors in wellness programme

More than 100,000 seniors have taken part in the People’s Association (PA) Wellness Programme since its launch in 2008.The PA gave this update as Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing visited the Bukit Merah Community Centre yesterday to see how the Radin Mas Wellness Programme was being implemented.

The programme is meant to engage Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, aged 50 and above, in programmes and activities so that they remain mentally, physically and socially active.

It was introduced in March 2008 to 12 constituencies, such as Radin Mas and MacPherson.

The programme was rolled out across the island in May last year and has so far been introduced in 42 constituencies. The plan is to have it in to the remaining 45 constituencies by the end of next year.

It aims to reach out to 50 per cent of the senior population, or about 500,000 people, by 2015 to get them to participate in activities such as health screenings. Many interest groups, such as magic and laughter clubs, have been formed and managed by the seniors.

Major-General (NS) Chan said he is heartened by the programme’s progress and was happy to see the seniors organising activities for themselves.

“All these improve their neighbourliness, improve their active lifestyle and so forth … and we will continue to innovate and pilot suitable programmes for the respective constituencies going forward,” he added.

Sixty-year-old Madam Chew Kwi Yang, a cleaner, is one senior who has benefitted from her participation in the programme.

Two years ago, members of her gardening club sensed something was amiss when Madam Chew did not turn up for a regular gardening session and alerted her family members. They eventually found that she had suffered a heart attack and had been hospitalised.

Madam Chew said she was touched by the concern her new friends at the club had showed. “This is my second home. I will feel something is not right if I don’t come here even for a day,” she said.

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