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How Seniors Can Benefit From Regular Stretching

stretching for seniors

Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates physical fitness system once said, “If your spine is stiff at 30, you are old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.”

He couldn’t have said it better. However, when you are young, you are healthier, stronger and your body is less sensitive. As age creeps up on you, you’ll lose muscle mass and your body is more sensitive to pain.

Since many people do not engage in resistance training to retard the muscle loss, the muscle fibers in the body start decreasing. They are then replaced by collagen which will get stiffer with time and reduce one’s mobility. The best way to remedy this problematic situation is with regular stretching. There are a multitude of benefits that can be accrued just by stretching for about 15 to 20 minutes a day. Let’s look at some of the benefits.

  • Reduces stress

Stretching is a good form of stress relief. One may wonder what stress a senior in his or her golden years may face. After all, they’re probably retired and are living a life of relative ease, right?

Wrong. Seniors face stress too. It could be health issues, loneliness, etc. Stress affects everyone to varying degrees. Daily stretching sessions will help seniors alleviate stress.

  • Maintains mobility

The more limber you are, the more easily you’ll move. Climbing the stairs, bending down to pick up the newspaper, etc. will be much easier to do because your body is flexible.

  • Eases pain

Neck aches, backaches, etc. can all be relieved to some degree with daily stretching. Not only will the sessions improve one’s blood circulation, but the ‘tightness’ that causes the muscle imbalance and pain will be eased and this will bring about pain relief.

  • Prevents insomnia

Stretching about 30 minutes prior to bedtime will help to relax the body. Of course, the stretching has to be slow and relaxed. This will help to calm your body down and allow you to sleep more easily.

  • Improves physical performance

It goes without saying that seniors should lead an active lifestyle. Walking, cycling, swimming, etc. can be done well into your later years. Resistance training is also a must to prevent muscle atrophy.

By being flexible, you’ll be able to perform much better at all these sports. Your body has a greater range of motion. You move faster and more easily because you’re flexible. Your athletic performance is improved when you’re limber.

  • Improves posture

Stretching regularly will help to prevent the hunched appearance that so many seniors have. Stretching helps to strengthen your muscles too. You’ll be able to stand straight without hunching.

Very often, seniors hunch because the muscles are tight. That’s why training methods such as yoga and Pilates are so helpful for seniors. They help to strengthen the body while increasing flexibility.

  • Prevents cramps and injuries

By being flexible, you’ll be less prone to cramps, sprains, etc. Just ensure you’re getting enough water daily so that you’re not dehydrated. By now, you should be aware of just how beneficial regular stretching can be… and the points mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. Adopt a daily stretching routine and in about 3 weeks to a month, you’ll feel the difference and never look back.


Kelvin Teo also writes at Holistic Health Methods — a health and wellness blog focusing primarily on the topics of holistic health, home remedies and alternative therapies.

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17 Activity Ideas For Seniors

Study shows that happier seniors tend to show a decline in activities of daily living over time. Here are 17 activities to engage seniors

When we think of caregiving, it is often about ensuring that our loved ones’ physical needs such as safety, food and hygiene are met.

But, what about their psychological well-being?

A recent study shows that seniors who are more engaged socially, are less likely to show a decline in activities of daily living.

Before we lose the ability to communicate with our loved ones, it’s important for us to continually find ways to engage them.

We can change the way that we administer care by injecting fun activities into our routines.

Here are 17 activities to get you started on this journey!

Opt for Tabletop Activities

Table top activities are ideal for seniors who are less mobile as it requires very minimal upper body movement, while being easy to facilitate with a set of structured rules for the group to follow along.

Some popular table top games to play with seniors include Snakes & Ladders, Chess, Checkers or Scrabble. For the local table top games, try Hua Hee, Five Stones, Country Erasers or Kuti-Kuti.

Activities To Improve Cognitive Function

Cognitive engagement activities can serve multiple functions including serving as a positive distraction, improving moods and enhancing coping efficacy – all of which can help to enhance a senior’s wellbeing and reduce their health problems. Conditions like dementia or anxiety can be improved with memory games that challenge and improve mental alertness

1.Puzzles

Puzzles are great for self-enrichment and aiding in problem-solving skills, especially for seniors who want a sense of control and taking charge of something without the need of a caregiver by their side.

 Not forgetting that sense of accomplishment when they’ve placed in the final piece to the puzzle! When deciding which puzzles to prepare for seniors, go for easy-to-piece puzzles with pictures that are colourful, easy on the eye or familiar scenes like holidays or the different seasons.

2. Mahjong

A popular local game to keep the brain supercharged, Mahjong’s tile-matching game not only helps to regain physical agility in the arms when they rearrange or discard tiles, it also helps to keep the mind more mentally sharp while aiming to complete a set. It’s a low-cost leisure activity that is great for nurturing social interactions and mental training.

3. Card Games

Card games are so versatile, involving as many people at once and can be played anywhere. It’s a great way to socialise, easy to pick up and keep the mind razor-sharp. Some of the more popular games to try include Bridge, Jin Rummy, Go Fish, or local ones like Huahee Matchoonary, Huahee Snap, Happy Family or Old Maid.

Play classic memory matching, charades and storytelling games with a local twist. 26 beautifully sketched local designs such as the Kueh Tutu, Clogs and Tingkat in four different game plays.
Play classic memory matching, charades and storytelling games with a local twist. 26 beautifully sketched local designs such as the Kueh Tutu, Clogs and Tingkat in four different game plays.

When choosing card games for seniors, you might want to consider using large-sized playing cards with large prints or fonts that is friendly for the eyes and hands of seniors.

4. Draw On Your Head Game

As strange as the name of the game sounds, this is one of the more exciting activities that will be sure to energise the group and get everyone laughing no matter how great their drawing skills are.

Plus, it’s a great game to improve the motor skills and hand-eye coordination. To begin, each participant will need to hold a paper plate on their heads and follow along to the instructions given to draw! 

For example:

– Draw a line

– Draw three circles on top of the line

– Draw a sun on the top left

Activities For Creativity and Freedom of Expression

Therapeutic recreation can contribute to the health and happiness of seniors, especially when it involves their commitment, personal views and meaningful affirmation of valued self-attributes.

5. String Art Ice-cream

Study shows that happier seniors tend to show a decline in activities of daily living over time. Here are 17 activities to engage seniors

DIY activities especially art that you can take home is a fun way to inculcate your own personal flair while at the same time creating something tangible you can share with family or friends, or as a gift idea. This string art ice-cream can be cultivated as a month-long project, where individuals can regularly come in to string in each segment based on the colour scheme they’ve chosen for the ice-cream. Though this activity requires more preparation and careful guidance, it’s a really great activity to showcase one’s skills and aptitude.

Resource: https://www.amotherthing.com/diy-string-art-ice-cream-cone-with-template/

6.Painting

Painting is a great diversion activity for seniors and a channel for expressing their inner most thoughts and emotions. Besides improving hand-eye coordination and serving as an occupational therapy, creating art can help with self-empowerment too. Types of painting activities include acrylic, watercolour or oil painting.

For seniors with moderate to severe dementia with issues using a paint brush, you can perhaps hand them a sponge or get them to engage in finger painting.

7.Cross-stitching

A fun and easy activity to learn, cross-stitching is great for improving one’s concentration skills and hand eye coordination.

 It’s a great project that can keep individuals occupied for months while patiently stitching the thread onto the canvas. There are varying cross-stitch kits with patterns, shapes or photos, designed for both the elderly and beginners.

8. Folding Origami

Complete with a set of instructions and a multitude of crafts you can make, folding origami is a practical activity that can be repurposed as wall art.

It’s a wonderful hobby that can be undertaken solo or in a group with many benefits – resulting in a three dimensional form with just a piece of paper!

It also hones imagination and creativity skills as they create their colourful masterpieces.

For Greater Social Interaction & Relationship Building

Having company is often overlooked – since most of their day-to-day needs or recovery is done in isolation. One of the most effective ways we can help to alleviate their feelings of isolation or frustration is by simply showing up and providing companionship in a group setting!

9. Pass The Cling Wrap Ball

Study shows that happier seniors tend to show a decline in activities of daily living over time. Here are 17 activities to engage seniors

This group activity is an easy game to start while having the excitement of a prize at the end! Before you start this game, make the cling wrap ball first!

Prepare loads of cling wrap and prizes.

Instructions:

  1. Start by wrapping one prize up.
  2. Add another prize in the second layer
  3. Continue adding other layers and other prizes in between the layers

You can make it as big as you want!

Start by getting everyone seated in a circle and give one person a cling wrap ball, while the person to their left has a bowl and dice.

The objective – completely unwrap the cling wrap ball to reveal a prize, while the person on the left tries to roll doubles to get their turn!

There are many variations to this game and it’s ton of fun that requires very little lower mobility.

Resource: https://musthavemom.com/saran-wrap-ball-game-fun-party-game-idea-for-kids-or-adults/

10. Drum Circles

A fun idea to entice movement and rhythm in a group setting is by oragnising drum circles!

 Besides the rhythmic motion to dance or groove to, playing musical instruments can help to improve their mental alertness while reigniting their passion for music.

 It’s also a great idea to bring in various types of drums like bongos, buffalo drums, congas – utilising the different sounds, shapes or percussion instruments that everyone can try.

You can get seniors to make their own shaker instruments by putting beans into sealed water bottles too!

Resource: http://drumcircles.net/seniordrumcircle.html

11. Pic-a-box

‘Pic’-a-box’ is a fun activity that focuses on self-discovery and reminiscing through shared experiences.

Start by giving one person in the room a box filled with random pictures of the past, and get them to pull out a random picture and share anything that comes to mind.

For example, pictures of old buildings or kampong estates, food like kueh lapis or ang ku kueh, or games like gasing (spinning top) or five stones — remembering the things we enjoyed in our younger days are often fond memories to look back on.

This game can be done with Huahee Matchoonary too.

12. Horse Racing Game

This rendition of the horse racing game is a fun activity for the elderly in nursing homes or assisting living. Start by having everyone in a line as the ‘horses’ in the race.

 Then, give each each person the chance to throw a live-sized dice, followed by moving the number of spaces corresponding to the number on the dice.

 This is followed through by the rest of the group, until someone reaches the finishing line first!

13. Name 5

The ‘Name 5’ game is a simple mind-stretching game that serves as a great ice-breaker game with no set up required.

Start by giving a subject, and the group has to name five items for that subject! Some ideas for categories include favourite food, MRT stations, places in Singapore etc.

Other variations of this game is called ‘Word Chain’, where the player starts by saying a word, and the group has to name another word that relates to the previous word ie. (Ocean – beach –  sandcastles – mat – picnic – apples).

14. What’s In The Bag?

Study shows that happier seniors tend to show a decline in activities of daily living over time. Here are 17 activities to engage seniors

This is a great guessing game that can help to engage train problem-solving skills. Choose a colourful bag and put in random objects to guess like coins, utensils, keys, clothes pegs etc. You can also switch it up and place in objects that are reminiscent from their past for a more meaningful experience.

Resource: https://www.goldencarers.com/whats-in-the-bag/4702/

 Exercise activities

Light exercises such as going for walks, aqua jogging or seated chair exercises have multiple benefits like improved mobility, joint flexibility, agility, balance and much more. Here are some other activities to make it more fun and exciting!

Big groups can engage in these activities that require more upper body movement.

15. Balloon Volleyball

The rules are simple, keep the balloon in the air!

Besides challenging their agility, balloon volleyball is an engaging activity that can help seniors relive their younger days and evoke feelings of pure child-like joy.

 It’s a fun activity that fosters relationships while improving the mental and emotional well-being.

16. Seated Noodle Hockey or Floorball

A twist from the classic sport, Noodle Hockey/Floorball can be played seated making it ideal for seniors with low mobility. Start by giving out different coloured pool noodle floating aids to each team (to serve as the sticks) which you can get from Daiso, and line the participants in a row on each side.

You can use soft plastic beach balls or balloons as the puck, and get each team to score a goal at the end! To make it even more exciting, toss in a few balls or balloons at once and watch the adrenaline kick in!

Resource: http://silverinnings.blogspot.com/2009/08/noodle-hockey-keeps-seniors-in-game.html

17. Beanbag Toss

Prepare different sized baskets and assign points to each basket. The smaller baskets would be more difficult and thus, have higher points.

In this game of bean bag toss, seniors can score points by getting their bean bags to land in the basket with varying target sizes. It can be played both standing or sitting and are particularly suitable for those who may not be intrinsically motivated to get some exercise.

With so many different ability levels, it can be easily adjusted for seniors to work on different skills like balance, upper lifting, hand balance and target aiming.

Featured Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

______________________________________________________________________________

Keith Jonathan is a thrill-seeker and adrenaline junkie who makes the best of his creative misdirection in his narrative. When he’s not chasing the dream of a wanderlust adventure, he enjoys spending his time dabbling in unsolved mysteries, conspiracy theories and paranormal pursuits.

We create localised games and activities for seniors. It’s time to engage them socially. Buy our games here.

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Sibling Conflict in Caregiving

When caregivers talk about the stress of caring for their parents, the next issue that they bring up is most often that they lack the support from their siblings.

When taking on such a huge emotional and physical task, you would naturally need as much help as you can get.

Uncertainty in the situation of caring for your parents causes conflict. Watching your parents decline also adds to the stress and emotions. These can take a toll on the relationship between siblings if it’s not properly managed.

Here’s a few tips and advice curated from Daily Caring.

Sibling conflict in caregiving. Asking for help. why dont they help. Tips for the sibling
Sibling conflict in caregiving. Asking for help. Understanding why they don’t help. Tips for the sibling.

 

How to ask for help from your siblings? Ask yourself what you really need. Stop the cycle of guilt when you ask. Dont assume that they should know you need help.
How to ask for help from your siblings? Ask yourself what you really need. Stop the cycle of guilt when you ask. Don’t assume that they should know you need help.

Read more here

Why dont my siblings help? They may think you don't really need help. They need to experience it themselves. They dont know how to help. They are afraid of doing a bad job.
Why don’t my siblings help? They may think you don’t really need help. They need to experience it themselves. They don’t know how to help. They are afraid of doing a bad job.

Read more here

Tips for the sibling caregiver. Dont aim for equal spread of roles. Do what makes sense. Be kind to each other. Divide and conqure. Prepare for tough realities - end of life
Tips for the sibling caregiver. Don’t aim for equal spread of roles. Do what makes sense. Be kind to each other. Divide and conqure. Prepare for tough realities such as end of life.

Read more here and here

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These Singaporeans create games for a living

These Singaporeans create games for a living

While the whole world is fixated on their mobile devices, there’s still a group of Singaporeans hoping to encourage human interaction without screens.

They are creating card games and board games for their community.

These games may be of different forms and game plays. But, they all hope to encourage interaction in some way or another.

So, what are these games and who are the individuals who still insist on creating paper products?

I’m one of these individuals and I’m very happy that I’m not alone.

Because I work on card games for seniors, I decided to start searching for other local game creators.

I asked them a few questions. So, here it goes:

Daniel Tan, 22, Founder of Limpeh Says 

Daniel Tan Yong Heng (left), Founder, Limpeh Says
Daniel Tan Yong Heng (left) and Gabriel Leow, Founders of Limpeh Says. Pic Credit: The Straits Times.

Most Singaporeans have heard of Limpeh Says, a card game that puts a local spin on Cards Against Humanity.

What you may not know is that the game started off as Daniel’s school project while he was studying at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

1. How did you get started with Limpeh Says? 

It was initially made for a school project.

After the assessment, I wanted to show it off a bit to my friends on Twitter, but it gained traction really quick and within a few days it was shared on a few local buzz sites.

This really pushed me to make the game a reality, and Gabriel (co-founder of Play Nation, and my partner in Limpeh Says) reached out to me, giving some advise purely out of goodwill.

We met a for a few times, and I decided that he has the knowledge and experience in this field that I don’t.

I then offered him a partnership. We set out to create the best product we could.

2. How long has the journey been and how has it evolved along the way?

Before we launched it on Kickstarter, It took us a little over a year to refine the card game.

It was previously called “Cards Against Humanity: Singapore Edition.”

But for legal reasons, as well as not wanting to be associated with CAH, we slowly evolved into Limpeh Says.

During the process of refining, we also trippled the number of cards in the game.

The design changes, mainly our logo, was also refined over that period of time.

3. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was Kickstarter.

We were both new to the platform, and we had no idea how well our campaign would run.

We initially ran for a $20,000 funding goal, which a few Kickstarter veterans were wary about.

But even if we hit exactly that amount, we would still be at a loss.

We really just wanted to see it come to fruition, so we brought the goal as low as we could.

Surprisingly, we hit $20k in a little over 2 hours, and went 600% on the campaign.

I tried my best to spice up the campaign page the best I could do, while Gabriel worked hard liaising with different companies to get some promotional posts up.

4. What are your upcoming plans for Limpeh Says?

Currently, we are on a hiatus due to our own commitments.

But I am looking forward to GE2019! (His next project is likely to be launched then)

If you’re interested in Limpeh Says, you can pre-order at https://limpehsays.com/

Nicholas Pang, 37, Founder of Starknicked

Nick Pang, Founder, Star Nicked created Smol Tok. Smol Tok is a game aimed at getting people to have more intimate conversations.
Nick Pang, Founder, Starknicked created Smol Tok. Smol Tok is a game aimed at getting people to have more intimate conversations.

Smol tok is everything that cards against humanity is not.

Nicholas created smol tok as an ice-breaking and community-building card game designed to grow meaningful conversations, trust, and relationships – minus the bullshit.

Every card is a question, and every question is a peek into what makes us human.

1. How did you get started with smol tok?

I was reading viktor frankl’s man’s search for meaning, everyone should read this book at pivotal moments in life.

I was heavily inspired and influenced by his teachings about how the search for meaning and purpose is essential for every human being to not only survive but thrive, and find happiness in life.

Questions are an important tool in this endeavour, and I had created a bunch of questions for myself as a personal heuristic.

Someone I knew saw it and incepted the idea of making it accessible to others who might need it.

I experimented with some designs and put it in a shop. It slowly grew from there organically.

2. How long has the journey been and how has it evolved along the way?

I was still working at my day job when I released smol tok in 2015.

Did it at night and on the weekends in 2015 and 2016. Passion project really.

I wasn’t looking to start a company or a line of products. Just wanted to make stuff that helped people like me find meaning and purpose in their relationships, work, life, etc.

But, sometime in 2016, I took a 2 month long break and went on a backpacking pilgrimage.

The extended time away from what we consider normal in Singapore brought increasing clarity to me.

I decided I needed to redesign and reprogramme my life, and reorient it towards work that was truly meaningful, that I could uniquely carry out.

I returned to Singapore, quit my day job, and started to feel my way forward with smol tok.

Since then, I’ve released one new deck every year, with plans to do so for the next 6 years.

The whole creative process is life-giving to me, and I have a blank slate to create in Smol Tok.

I’ve also met many like-minded and talented people along the way, and together with some of them, are working to spin off and create other kinds of meaningful games and content.

3. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

An ongoing challenge is getting folks to get into the habit of asking questions about their own lives with the intention of getting clearer about what truly gives them meaning and purpose, and not simply cruise along on autopilot.

The Singapore narrative that we’re schooled in is based on a pretty narrow definition of success – the material sort.

I suspect many folks feel trapped in this narrative; some time away on retreat and a few honest questions directed at oneself could help folks write their own narrative, one that’s uniquely tailored to them as individuals.

4. What are your upcoming plans for Starknicked? (It’s pronounced ‘stark naked’)

Expansion. Building a community of folks who seek greater meaning and purpose in life.

Also, there are five more decks of smol tok I need to bring to maturity, including one on work, one on travel, and one on ecology.

Plus a new family of card games rooted in my family’s Peranakan heritage.

I don’t want to give away too much. Stay tuned!

If you’re interested in Smol Tok, you can order at: https://www.starknicked.com/ 

 Tan Shao Han, 37, and Alanna Yeo, 34, Co-founders of Curious Chimeras

Tan Shao Han, Founder, Curious Chimeras
Tan Shao Han, Co-founder, Curious ChimerasAlanna Yeo, Founder, Curious ChimerasAlanna Yeo, Co-founder, Curious Chimeras

The Curious Chimeras focuses on the art of storytelling via unique experiences that encompass strong narrative, tabletop games, art, and culture.

Through Curious Chimeras experiences and games, players can adventure fearlessly, engage in meaningful interactions with others and ultimately build a community that allows for exploration, self-discovery and the understanding of new and different perspectives.

1. How did you get started with Curious Chimeras? 

Shao: Curious Chimeras began with a passion to share the joy of roleplaying games with different people around me.

I was mostly working with kids, and enjoyed adapting and creating roleplaying games into simpler, more robust forms for their enjoyment – that was when I realized I found this process of game-making to be very fulfilling on a personal level.

That realization led me to focus on creating more games, and pushing myself into these endeavors.

Alanna: I joined Curious Chimeras because I have a passion for incorporating play and storytelling into our daily lives.

I had found it joyful to create ‘gameful’ experiences previously, for areas such as education, mental wellbeing, personal communication etc.

When Shao shared with me his vision for Curious Chimeras, I found that it was something I was immensely interested in, so here we are writing games and experiences for a living!

2. How long has the journey been and how has it evolved along the way? 

Shao: We incorporated at the beginning of 2018, and we have been operating before this as a community of playful volunteers that uses games to help kids learn and bond with one another.

In the past, we were more of a loose collective with an interest in play, while now we are more of a focused company with an emphasis on creating playable experiences.

3. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? 

Shao: Writing and publishing roleplaying games requires a lot of different skills – just like playing and running them!

I’ve had to become familiar with a lot of different skills like typesetting, graphic design, and the operations of a small business, while also reading and playing a lot of different games to get a better idea of my own visions and voice as a game maker.

As for how I overcame this – it’s just a matter of putting in lots of time, energy, and focus, I guess! 🙂

Alanna: In general, starting a business is never an easy task; immense discipline and communication is needed especially in a business run by more than one.

So far, I think Shao and I work very well together in terms of how our different skillsets complement each other, and most importantly, that the two of us are both direct and honest in the way we communicate with each other.

4. What are your upcoming plans for Curious Chimeras?

We are publishing a few roleplaying games in a mix of the Old School Revival (OSR) and narrative-driven ‘storygame’ style.

The first is “Tales of Saintrest”, a game of mythic fantasy about mortals and spirits in a world healing from a war, and we are also working on products and modules for other roleplaying engines and systems.

On the other side, we also develop and provide corporate services – we design and use roleplaying games to encourage teamwork and bonding in fun and immersive ways. Call us if you’re interested! 🙂

If you’re interested in Curious Chimeras, you can get in touch at http://www.curiouschimeras.com/

Christel Goh, 27, Founder of Play Huahee

After experiencing the pain of dementia at home, Christel Goh creates games for people and communities to engage seniors.
From right: Me and my grandma with the Play Huahee card games

Lastly, there’s also me 😛

I created Play Huahee when I experienced a lack of relevant activities in the market to engage my grandma.

Play Huahee offers the Singaporean community with localised games to engage seniors. We are also planning more games to reach communities beyond Singapore.

I devote my time to creating games to encourage early intervention for seniors.

1. How did you get started with Play Huahee?

Two years ago, my grandma showed early warning signs of dementia.

My grandpa suffered from dementia previously and my mum was very determined not to let the same happen to my grandma.

So, my mum started to research the types of food, exercises and activities that can help her condition.

I was looking for activities to engage my grandma, when I realised that there were no localised and relevant games for seniors in Singapore or for the Asian context.

So, I started to draw local food and heritage items in Singapore. This eventually led to the first version of Hua Hee card game. I  launched it on Indiegogo after that.

2. How long has the journey been and how has it evolved along the way?

Hua Hee was a very simple memory matching card game at first.

I soon introduced other ways of playing the games such as charades and pictionary. I also expanded on the range of games I had — including games like puzzles, colouring and more.

My focus was previously on creating activities for seniors. I feel that Play Huahee now stands for something bigger.

When it comes to conditions like dementia, most families only become aware of a problem much later on. They only find out about it when their seniors’ condition aggravates.

The effects of intervention are quite limited in the later stages of the condition.

Through Play HuaHee, I hope to encourage early intervention for seniors in homes/communities.

3. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is sustainability. While we have been getting traction among various organisations, all the profits generated goes back to fund production and various operating expenses.

We need to figure out a more sustainable model for Play Huahee.

4. What are your upcoming plans for Play Huahee?

The plan is to continue creating more games and reaching out to communities beyond Singapore.

I have so many ideas that I would like to experiment with. The only constrains are resources and time.

If you’re interested in Play Huahee, you can order at: https://playhuahee.com/games-engage-seniors/

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New Breakthrough in Dementia Findings

According  to Alzheimer’s Association, there has been new research findings on dementia intervention.

The findings show that aggressive treatment of high blood pressure results in fewer cases of cognitive decline.

In the Sprint for Discovery: New Dementia and Cardiovascular Findings, 9,361 hypertensive older adults (who do not have diabetes, dementia or prior stroke) were broken down into two groups.

One group recieved more intensive high blood pressure treatment than the other group.

In the group that recieved more intensive treatment, the results were that 19% less people developed mild cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer’s Association refered to the results as significant.

Extracted from the Alzheimer’s Association:

“These new findings further reinforce the importance of the Alzheimer’s Association U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER), as the study includes managing cardiovascular disease risk factors as part of the multi-component lifestyle interventions.

This two-year clinical trial funded by the Alzheimer’s Association will examine whether lifestyle interventions can protect cognitive function in older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline.

The interventions include physical exercise, nutritional counseling and modification, cognitive and social stimulation, and improved self-management of health status.”

 

Chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association global research program, Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., is optimistic about treating dementia with lifestyle changes.

She says that lifestyle changes have reduced deaths for major diseases like Cancer and Heart Disease.

She hopes that their findings will prove the same for dementia.

Read more about the study here.

Early Intervention at Home

Early intervention has been a big part of my family’s journey. My mother encouraged my family to embark on this journey ever since we noticed early warning signs of dementia in my grandma.

In six months of lifestyle changes such as diet, activities and exercise, we noticed a significant positive difference in her moods and memory.

I feel that families should watch out for these signs, and act on them before it is too late.

If you would like to read about my family’s journey of early intervention, read here.

This has also inspired me to create card games for seniors, in the hope that they encourage social interaction and can be tools of early intervention.

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Is elderly isolation a growing problem?

Is elderly isolation a growing problem?

Elderly isolation definitely seems to be a growing problem.

Last week, there was a news report that elderly suicides was at an all-time high.

An extract from Channel NewsAsia states, “The number of elderly aged 60 and above who took their own lives peaked at 129 last year, the highest since suicide tracking started in 1991.”

The total number of suicides last year was 361. This means that out of every three suicides, one was an elderly.

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is also encouraging seniors to call into their hotline because they see a drop in seniors calling in and they are concerned about elderly isolation.

According to the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study in 2012 by the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, one in five elderly persons in Singapore aged 75 and above show signs of depression.

There is also projected to be 83,000 seniors living alone by 2030.

It is clearly a big issue. This makes it more important for us to be more mindful of the seniors around us and watch for red flags.

These red flags are symptoms of suicidal tendencies to watch out for:

  1. Making preparations for death (e.g. writing a will or giving away cherished belongings)
  2. Sudden withdrawal from social interactions
  3. Self-neglect in terms of low personal hygiene and a dirty living environment
  4.  Struggle with a recent life crisis (e.g. the death of a loved one or excessive medical bills.)

Sources:

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/elderly-depression-lonely-dementia-chronic-illness-treatment-10159670

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/suicides-elderly-singapore-all-time-high-sos-10565002

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Music Therapy: Bringing Special Voices to Seniors

There is often much talk about creating an inclusive society for people with special needs.

Last week, we met someone who is doing this with the Singapore Special Voices.

Magdalene Wong is not creating an inclusive society by treating children with special needs as beneficiaries.

Instead, she is empowering them to give back to the community, and hone their talents in some way or another.

Meeting the Singapore Special Voices

Last saturday, we brought the Singapore Special Voices to Bright Hill Evergreen Home.

The Singapore Special Voices is a choir made up of special needs children who perform song and dance.

The seniors were very excited to participate in the performance.

The seniors have dementia and they dont often respond very much during volunteer engagement.

But, they were very ready to join in the song and dance segments with the children.

The Singpore Special Voices is set up by Magdalene Wong, a mother to 14 year-old Chalmers. She discovered that Chalmers had moderate to severe autism when he was close to two years old.
The Singpore Special Voices is set up by Magdalene Wong, a mother to 14 year-old Chalmers. She discovered that Chalmers had moderate to severe autism when he was close to two years old.

Motivations behind the Singapore Special Voices

Magdalene was motivated to set up the choir because she strongly believes that special needs children are born with talents.

She believes that they have the potential to do much better, given the right intervention.

Her son’s talent when playing the drums, piano and bowling, or dabbling in art has also inspired her to encourage families with special needs children.

She wants to make music and art either free, or at the very least, affordable for special needs children.

Music is one of the best therapies for special needs children.

The musical performance that they brought to seniors at Bright Hill Evergreen Home was also a great form of engagement.

The seniors were very enaged with the children’s song and dance as they performed melodies that they were very familiar with.

Children do have a magical ability to bring smiles to children. I blogged about a previous visit by children to the home during Christmas.

Challenges to Overcome

However, it has not been an entirely smooth sailing journey for Magdalene.

“As a working Mother with a special child, I face challenges in getting sufficient help and juggling between office work, son, choir and art classes for children with special needs. I’ve to constantly come up with new and creative songs and dance steps, charting choirs schedule and collating attendance,” said Magdalene.

She sources for funds to buy materials such as hand chimes for the performances.

She also gets sponsorship help from family and friends who believe in the project.

The Singapore Special Voices comprises a tight community of special needs children and their parents.

The Singpore Special Voices is set up by Magdalene Wong, a mother to 14 year-old Chalmers. She discovered that Chalmers had moderate to severe autism when he was close to two years old.
The Singpore Special Voices is set up by Magdalene Wong, a mother to 14 year-old Chalmers. She discovered that Chalmers had moderate to severe autism when he was close to two years old.

Magdalene’s Goal

Magdalene’s vision is to develop stage performing talents amongst children with special needs.

She wants to provide an avenue for them to be engaged in meaningful activities.

She believes that this will help improve their social skills and allow them to build self-confidence.

She is already seeing the fruits of her labour as parents have been sharing improvements of their children’s social skills and self-confidence.

Through the choir, Magdalene’s son has also become more sociable and open in interacting with others.

Her dream is to produce albums for the choir and bring them overseas to share this visions with special needs families in different part of the world.

She hopes that the Singapore Special Voices will bring Love, Joy and Hope to the rest of the world.

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