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It is time to engage your grandparents. Here’s how

It is time to engage your grandparents. Here’s how.

Sarah and her grandma

Living with my grandma all my life has many advantages.

I get delicious homecooked food everyday.

I picked up the Hokkien dialect from a young age and listen to stories about olden Singapore.

But, with assignments piling up, I find myself interacting with her less than I wish to.

I often see her channel surfing on the television or nodding off on the sofa.

While television and cooking may be a good way for her to pass time, engaging with her through conversation and games make a great bonding activity and it also gets her moving and thinking.

You can do many things to engage your grandparents from telling them about your day or bringing them out for their favourite food.

If you want to kick things up a notch, you can consider trying out the Play Huahee card games.

Christel Goh, Co-Founder, Play Huahee created a localised game for seniors in Singapore when she noticed certain changes in her grandma.

Christel was struggling to find relevant activities to engage her grandma.

This led to the birth of Play Huahee which aims to create localised games and activities as tools to encourage interaction between caregivers and seniors.

It is fun for all ages.

If you already have the Play Huahee card games, here are some other ways to inject fun and variation into game play.

Introducing elements such as smell, taste, movement and multimedia involves different sets of cognitive usage, and makes the game interesting and more enjoyable!

Here are three alternative ways to use Play Huahee Matchoonary.

1. Blind Tasting

We all love food and getting tasty treats for our grandparents will surely be a great way to engage them!

Not only will it tantalise their taste buds, but also challenge them to connect the taste to the corresponding card, triggering memory.

You can easily get most of the food featured in the games from any hawker centre in Singapore.

How it works:

  1. Assign a game leader and they will prepare the food beforehand.
  2. Cut into bite sized pieces so that it will be easier for players to taste them.
  3. Blind fold all players.
  4. Place the pineapple tart, ang ku kueh, kueh tutu and kueh lapis in front of them.
  5. Let them taste the first food item. Remember to guide your grandparents by holding their hands!
  6.  After tasting, they can remove the blind fold and you can get them to guess the food they just ate from a range of Play Huahee cards.
A photo of elderly having fun with our memory matching game at Monfort Care Goodlife 16th anniversary event. It was held at Blk 15A Marine Terrace.

2. 3, 2, 1, Action!

Imagine a group of seniors pretending to flip satay sticks while screaming, “Satay! Satay!” Makes me want to join them in the game!

Incorporating hand actions and sounds into the game play adds some form of exercising and makes it entertaining.

Physical and cognitive training work hand-in-hand to ward off and slow down the decline of physical and mental function.

In a study conducted by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (2016), combining physical and cognitive training improved both mental performance and gait speed in early dementia.

Hence, dual task exercises are important for seniors to keep their bodies and mind healthy and engaged.

Keeping this in mind, we suggest incorporating some actions into the card game while saying some form of sound or word related to the card.

This game works even if you are with a big group of 20-30 seniors, or one to one with your grandparent.

How it works:

Pick out the clogs, kettle, straw fan and satay, and explain the actions and corresponding sound.

  1. Clogs: walk around and say, “clog clog!”
  2. Kettle: as if holding a kettle and cup, arms follow the Teh Tarik action and say, “whoosh whoosh”
  3. Straw fan: as if holding a straw fan, fan oneself and say, “zua ah!” which means “hot ah!” in Hokkieen
  4. Satay: flip hands, like flipping satay, and say, “satay satay!”

Have a game master to flash the cards one at a time, saying “3, 2, 1” before changing the cards.

This is a great ice breaker game when trying to engage a large group, and it also works on reaction time, monitoring how fast seniors can change actions according to the cards flashed at them.

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.

For an easier option, you can ask the seniors to say the name of the item in the language that is most common to them instead.

For example, if “clogs” is difficult to pronounce in English, then you can also say “ka soot” which is shoes in Malay.

3. Picture Memory & Drawing

If you often volunteer with seniors, this game may help you entertain bigger groups of seniors.

This game combines light aerobic exercise through walking and encourages memory retention.

Furthermore, drawing as a form of art therapy, is a great way to practice hand-eye coordination and creativity. It is also another way of expressing themselves without using words.

How it works:

  1. Place the chosen card at one end of the room and the seniors at the other with a pen and paper.
  2. Ensure that there is sufficient space clear of obstructions for your seniors to walk.
  3. Split into teams of two to five. One player from each team walks to the card at the other end of the room and memorises it for 30 seconds or more. He or she then walks back to their team members.
  4. The player will draw out the item on the card for two minutes or more without talking.
  5. The team will have to guess what they are drawing.

This list is obviously not exhaustive, and you can use other methods to use the cards.

Our seniors have many stories to tell that we can learn from.

 Through these simple games, we get to interact and know them better while allowing them to be engaged at home.

Let us know which ones you and your grandparents enjoy, or if you have other ways of engaging your grandparents!


Sarah Rachel Teo is currently studying sociology and religious studies at the National University of Singapore, and her love language is food.

She loves people who give her food and loves giving food to people.

Sarah enjoys deep conversations with people and kneading bread by hand to work out those nonexistent arm muscles.

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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


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.



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.


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.


  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.


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!


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.


 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!


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.

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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.)


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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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Why should you take Turmeric?

I think many of us have heard that Turmeric has been said to improve memory and moods. But, does it really work? How do you take Turmeric?

Joy Julian, caregiver to her mother (right) has seen positive results after giving her mum Turmeric.

I think many of us have heard that Turmeric has been said to improve memory and moods.

But,  a few questions come to mind — does it really work? And, how do you take Turmeric?

Curcumin which is a substance found in Turmeric, is often used in Indian cuisine, where there seems to be a lower prevalence of dementia.

While there is no conclusive evidence that proves Curcumin has a direct effect on dementia.

I believe it’s worth a try.

I came across a post by Joy Julian in the Alzheimers’ & Dementia Caregivers support Facebook group. 

Joy who is from Florida, shared about how she has been giving her mum Turmeric root. She has since seen positive results in her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease.

I was quite intrigued by this because I’ve read that Turmeric is great for the mind.

In Singapore, Indians supposedly are less likely to get dementia because they take loads of Turmeric in their food.

I asked Joy if she was okay with sharing her experience and she very kindly agreed. 

1. Tell us about yourself and your experience as a caregiver?

I moved in with my mom six months after my father passed away. I didn’t think that she should be living on her own for the first time in her life at 86.

I didn’t know she had dementia – she was recovering from surgery on her brain. She has a Meningioma – which is a benign tumor on the lining of the brain. It’s been removed twice (it grew back after it was removed the first time).

She managed to bounced back after the first time it got removed.

But, the second surgery seriously impacted her. She currently lives with Alzheimers’ Diease.

We’re not too sure if the tumor was the cause of it.

2.When did you start giving your mum Turmeric root? What made you start your mum on this?

I had read about it, and saw the fresh root at my Farmer’s Market, so I bought some and started giving it to her.

3.You mentioned that she seemed to be clearer, what are your observations of her after taking Turmeric?

Recently, she has been able to dress herself independently. The only help that she gets from me is laying out her clothes.

Before taking turmeric, she was not able to get the sequence of dressing herself right. She sometimes, skips underwear, or ignores the clothes that I laid out.

When left on her own, she usually would wear something like three tops and no pants.

In general, she seems sharper. However, there are still some off days.

Photo by Taylor Kiser on Unsplash

4.How do you prepare turmeric root and how often do you give it to her?

I simmer it in a pan with a little coconut oil and Basalmic vinegar. It doesn’t taste great, but she doesn’t mind.

Sometimes, I give her a piece to chew on, sometimes I mince it and put in her food. She doesn’t object.

I usually give her a few pieces of turmeric in the day.


5. Are there other ways to prepare Turmeric?

When eaten with fat (virgin olive or coconut oil or meat drippings) as is done in India, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby partially bypassing the liver.

A recipe for this is the Tumeric Golden Paste which can be consumed as it is or mixed into rice, dishes or drinks.

Extracted from the article:

What is needed for making Turmeric Golden Paste?

  • 1/2 cup turmeric powder (125 mls) – Use organic powder.
  • 1 cup water (250 mls) or a bit more to get desired paste consistency
  • 1 teaspoons ground black pepper (7.5 mls) (or even 1/2 tsp. if pepper is too irritating)
  • 1/4 cup (70 ml) cold pressed Olive or un-refined Coconut oil – enhances the bio-availability of curcumin another seven to eight-fold

Add turmeric to water in a pan. Heat gently along with stirring. Do this till you get a thick paste, approximately 6 to 10 min. Adjust thickness by adding some water or adding a bit more turmeric.

Finally, add the pepper and oil. Keep stirring to ensure that all ingredients are mixed properly. Allow it to cool.

Bottle in clean jar with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it for 4-5 weeks or more. (Antimicrobial Un-refined, virgin Coconut oil will help keep it from spoiling sooner). This will ensure you can make it once and use for days.

6. Are there any other natural remedies you recommend for seniors?  

YES – although we haven’t tried, MCT oil is next on my list. I bought it for my son and he LOVES it. 

MCT oil are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid with health benefits like improved cognitive function to better weight management.

also shared about early intervention and how my grandma benefited from taking Coconut Oil here.

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11 Services for Seniors in Singapore

If you are caring for a senior, you may be wondering how to keep your loved ones occupied.

You may be looking for activities, companionship, caregiving or exercise related services for your loved ones.

I’ve compiled a list of options that you can consider. This is definitely not a comprehensive list.

If you know of any services that you think I should add, please let me know!

1. Activities

Activities for seniors
Colouring for seniors is a great activity

I’ve been to AMKFSC’s Senior Activity Hub in Punggol with my grandma. It is quite a positive experience. They have a weekly schedule of activities that range from afternoon exercises, karaoke to arts and craft.

I’m not too sure if all the Senior Activity Centres are open to everyone though? According to Singapore Silver Pages, you have to meet their eligibity criteria and apply first.

There’s too many senior activity centres that it’s impossible to list them all. But, you can definitely look for one near you with the help of Google.

Some of the Senior Activity Centres that you can consider are Hovi Care  and SASCO.

2. Exercise

Exercise gyms, services and programmes for seniors in Singapore.
Exercise gyms, services and programmes for seniors in Singapore.

There are a few exercise options for seniors.

Enabling Village ActiveSG Gym

Extracted from their site — This space was set up by SG Enable, a government-established body that is dedicated to enabling people with disabilities. This is the first inclusive gym where people with disabilities, seniors and the able-bodied can come together to work out and participate in selected sports programmes together.

It is near Redhill MRT station.


Extracted from their site — The ASPIRE55 Introduction Programme is designed to help you improve on your muscle strength and balance after 10 weeks. Over 150 older adults have graduated to date. You will experience our small group strength training programme twice a week, led by an ASPIRE55 trainer. Each week, learn new exercises that will assist you with falls prevention, improvement of balance and muscles strength.


1 Commonwealth Lane #08-34
One Commonwealth
Singapore 149544

Gym Tonic

I’m not exactly sure how Gym Tonic works but I read about it in the news previously.

They offer strength training for seniors using gym equipment (I think). I believe that they are still in the pilot phases but you can still sign up if you’re keen.


One of our friends in our Fighting Dementia group shared that she tried  silver circle active sg gym, enabling village active sg gyms and ASPIRE 55. She prefers ASPIRE 55  even though it has  a higher price point. Because, the trainers are extremely encourging and hands on.

Her mother works on core mobility, stretching and exercising smaller muscle groups during these sessions. They are important muscles becuse they support the larger muscles.

It’s a good mix of machine, stretching and very light weights. Cardio wise, they will do up a health check and advise accordingly.

3. Befriending & Care Support

Seniors need to feel a sense of belonging is the third highest in the Maslow's hierrachy of needs, after safety and phsyological.
Seniors need to feel a sense of belonging.

If your loved ones require companionship, caregiving, nursing or physiotherapy at home, you can engage services via online sites such as JagaMe or Homage.

If you’re looking for  active rehabilitation, community nursing, and personalised dementia care, you can check out NTUC Silver Circle.

There’s also organisations like AWWA, TOUCH Community Services, NTUC Health and Home Nursing Foundation that provide care in varied forms for seniors.

There’s also Senior Day Care options that range from $900 to $1500 monthly and provide exercise, personal care and social and recreational activities. You can apply here.

4. Seniors with dementia

Five big insights into alzheimers/ dementia?
Five big insights into alzheimers/ dementia?

Seniors with dementia can try out Alzheimers’ Dementia Association’s Families of Wisdom programme which is a small group programme where facilities will engage caregivers and seniors in activities.

Seniors are broken into small groups based on the severity of their condition, and their various interests.

Montessori for Dementia Care also offers sessions for seniors to exercise their memory, staying creative, and purposefully active with the goal of continuing to learn and live a life of dignity.

They have an Activity Centre, providing daily 3-hour sessions with diverse activities, with group or individualised sessions. Activities like cooking, music, arts and crafts, exercise, and conversation offer a diverse and social experience.

AWWA Dementia Day Care also offers a programme that aims to help seniors in slowing down the progression of the condition.


I believe that there are many more services out there? And, I may have barely scratched the surface.

But, the objective is really to list some available services out there in case you’re looking for something.

I’ve also heard about the red tape involved in getting seniors placed in some of these programmes.

So, I guess if you’re waiting too long to hear back from one service provider, maybe you can try other services?

Let me know if I got anything wrong of if you have anything that you want to share.

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Early Intervention: Does Hua Hee help your grandma?

After experiencing the pain of dementia at home, Christel Goh creates games for people and communities to engage seniors.

When i share with others about my card games, many often ask, “So, your grandma is better now because of your card games?”

To which, I would reply that my family does many different things, in the area of early intervention.

In this blog post, I share about the various lifestyle interventions — food, activities, exercise and social inclusion.

Through all of these, we’ve seen an extremely positive change in my grandma.

Here’s some context:

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

My grandma showed early warning signs of dementia two years ago. She got agressive. She had signs of short term memory loss and suspicion.

This was unsual because she’s usually very sharp and is very mild mannered. But, my mother was very determined not to let her “get” it.

My grandfather had dementia more than five years ago. It was a time where there was much less knowledge/support on the condition in Singapore.

Lots of Research

My mum did extensive research on dementia — from understanding the condition, how it occurs, how to prevent and slow it down.

While many people would say that it’s impossible to reverse the condition of dementia, we’ve seen vast improvement in my grandma. Although, we’ve never gotten her diagnosed in the first place.

The positive change in her memory, behaviour and temperamant shows us that early intervention is really important.

I feel that many people in time starved cities like Singapore dont have the time to watch for behavioural changes in their loved ones, much less embark on early intervention.

People may only see the need to intervene when the symptoms of a condition become servere. By then, it may be too late? I don’t know.

Here’s what my family does for my grandma:

1. Food

Coconut oil is great for persons with dementia or show early warning signs of dementia
Coconut oil is great for persons with dementia or people who show early warning signs of dementia. 

My mum is very health conscious so my grandma eats homecooked food everyday.

My family also hardly eats rice so we limit her rice intake.

Even when she does eat rice, our rice at home is a mix of white, brown rice and barley.

My mum is also against processed food so we don’t really eat things like luncheon meat and spam. (haha)

According to my mum, if whatever you’re eating doesnt have a face, it is processed.

We also take loads of spices in our food like tumeric, cinnmon etc. Tumeric is one of those things that appears to be good for the brain.

My mum also read about the benefits of coconut oil for the brain. Since then, my grandma religiously takes  a spoonful of coconut oil everyday.

While there isn’t sufficient research to back the benefits of coconut oil, there are many stories of it benefiting others online.

We’ve also seen a significant change in her memory and disposition ever since we got her started on coconut oil.

You can get coconut oil at a DISCOUNTED PRICE HERE.

2. Activities

We thought about what would be able to engage her or keep her occupied.

During the daytime, both my parents are at work and if we didn’t find things to engage her with, she would just stare at the tv screen or spend her time sleeping.

One day I brought home the Secret Garden colouring book. She got really intrigued by it.

She spent a long time colouring when we got her the book.

Over the next few days, she stopped staring at the TV screen. She would be colouring all day and night.

To date, she’s gone through many colouring books. We now have stacks and stacks of her coloured books.

Helping her find an activity that she enjoys and keeping her occupied has been one of the best things ever.

Some people have told me that it could be because when i was little, she would be colouring with me.

So, it could be an activity that brings back positive memories.

I’m currently trying to find other ways to engage her so she is continuously exposed to different things and is kept engaged. But,she doesnt seem to be interested in other things. I’ve tried crossword puzzles, drawing etc.

If you’re looking for activities to engage seniors, you can check my games out HERE.

3. Exercise

Last year, she fell down at home a few times. Those were scary experiences. We struggled with getting her off the floor . Thank God she wasnt hurt in those episodes.

Those were signs that she needed to gain strength in her legs. My mum then found some chair exercises off the internet. We got her to go to the psyiotherapist who directed us to those exercises too.

Getting up from a chair is an exercise that she is supposed to do three sessions a day (10 times at each session).

At first, she really struggled to get up and took quite a few seconds trying to get up from the chair.  After doing it regularly, she has progressed quite well. She can now get up without supporting herself with her hands.

The speed at which she gets up from the chair has also increased quite a bit. This shows that she is much stronger in her legs now.

I shared about how consistent exercise helped her gain strength in her legs previously.

4. Social Inclusion

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

What she gains out of 2 & 3 is social inclusion. It has been reported that hearing loss can lead to dementia and it’s easy to imagine why.

We often have to speak very loudly, slowly and repeat ourselves multiple times for my grandma to hear us.

You can imagine a setting such as dinner – everyone is in the midst of a conversation, but the senior who is hearing impaired is physically present but he or she can’t get involved because they can’t hear.

The need to feel a sense of belonging is the third highest in the Maslow’s hierrachy of needs, after safety and phsyological needs. If they can’t get involved, they can’t feel like they belong.

My mum also gets her to walk around the house everyday after dinner. She always sings and prays with my grandma regularly. We also try to bring her out for walks whenever we can. She’s not very mobile so she cant leave home on her own.

But, she’s very sociable by nature and can strike up a conversation with literally, anyone.

The simple activity of going down to the park gives her much needed sunshine, fresh air and conversations with neighbours.

She also gets to play with pet dogs if the neighbours bring them down.


These are simple everyday things to do. But, many times its really about discipline and commitment. What works for us, may not work for you… I encourage you to just keep trying different things. You may only find something that works on your 99th try.

I started on a Preventing Dementia Mooc and you can read my learnings here and here

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