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Just make them laugh

Aging is tough. We need to find ways to bring joy back to our seniors.

Aging is tough. We need to find ways to bring joy back to our seniors.

Last week, my grandma had quite a bit of difficulty getting out of the room. She fell the day before. Although she had no injuries, it made her weaker.

It was an intense and stressful situation getting to the dinner table. My family crowded around her. We had our hands all around her to support her as she painfully took each step to the dining table.

She had furrowed brows and perspiration dripping down her face as she inched forward. There was alot of yelling as we tried to help her navigate. (My grandma has difficulty hearing) It was uncomfortable for all of us.

For her, in that moment, she was frustrated that she lost the ability that we all take for granted daily. The ability to move around freely.

For us, her family, watching her struggle was stressful. One filled with emotional loss. Not knowing what to do and also fear of what more this grim journey of aging would bring.

After dinner, she wanted to go back to her room and call it a day. But, I told her to stay to play bingo with us. She was reluctant but I persuaded her to.

As we played the game, she laughed when she could find items on the bingo sheet. That was the first time she laughed in two hours of being in pain and struggling with her mobility. Aging is tough for seniors and the family members.

If you can find a chance, break away from the tense situation and laugh. Find something to laugh about. Maybe it’s a game, a story from a past or a joke.

Aging is what it is.

And, we must find a way to laugh, cheer and encourage even when there’s nothing to laugh about.

We may lose our abilities physically. But, may we never lose our ability to connect emotionally and just laugh.

Buy our games for seniors here. Take the stress away for a while. Make them laugh while you can.

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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

Are you looking for activity ideas to engage seniors in Singapore?

You may be looking to engage someone at home, or maybe, you’re planning a visit to a nursing home or senior activity centre.

Fret Not! Here’s some activity ideas for you.

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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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.

Do you want FREE activities for seniors? Leave your email address and we will send them to you.

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Meet me & play HuaHee?

I am very happy to share with you that I’ve just launched two additional games!

I spent the past year experimenting on game plays and am super happy to push out the fruits of my labour.

I’m also thinking of having a session to share with you my inspiration.  And, you can test out the new Hua Hee games!

Here’s more details about the new games:

Hua Hee Colozzle

HuaHee Colozzle is a colouring and puzzle game. It comes with 15 designs of everyday items, aimed at invoking positive memories in seniors.  The designs includes flowers, seashells, leaves, snails, carrots, lemons, mushrooms, butterflies, corn, rabbits, onions, avocados, cheries and frogs.

HuaHee Colozzle is a colouring and puzzle game. It comes with 15 designs of everyday items, aimed at invoking positive memories in seniors.

The designs includes flowers, seashells, leaves, snails, carrots, lemons, mushrooms, butterflies, corn, rabbits, onions, avocados, cheries and frogs.

HuaHee Colozzle is a colouring and puzzle game. It comes with 15 designs of everyday items, aimed at invoking positive memories in seniors.  The designs includes flowers, seashells, leaves, snails, carrots, lemons, mushrooms, butterflies, corn, rabbits, onions, avocados, cheries and frogs.

This game was inspired by my interactions with my grandmother. She really enjoys colouring.

I introduced colouring as an activity to my grandma a few years ago. Ever since then, she has not stopped colouring.

Colouring is a great therapy for seniors and helps them to exercise hand eye coordination.

My grandma had gone through many different colouring books.

I then wondered if there were other ways to transform the excisting coloured sheets into a game.

This is how HuaHee Colozzle came about.

HuaHee Colozzle is a colouring and puzzle game. It comes with 15 designs of everyday items, aimed at invoking positive memories in seniors.  The designs includes flowers, seashells, leaves, snails, carrots, lemons, mushrooms, butterflies, corn, rabbits, onions, avocados, cheries and frogs.

It comprises 15 colouring sheets which you can easily tear apart and form puzzles with, after you’re done colouring.

HuaHee Colozzle is a colouring and puzzle game. It comes with 15 designs of everyday items, aimed at invoking positive memories in seniors.  The designs includes flowers, seashells, leaves, snails, carrots, lemons, mushrooms, butterflies, corn, rabbits, onions, avocados, cheries and frogs.

HuaHee Colozzle is a colouring and puzzle game. It comes with 15 designs of everyday items, aimed at invoking positive memories in seniors.  The designs includes flowers, seashells, leaves, snails, carrots, lemons, mushrooms, butterflies, corn, rabbits, onions, avocados, cheries and frogs.

Rules of Play

  1. Colour the items on each colouring sheet
  2. Tear along the dotted lines
  3. Mix up the pieces and form puzzles with them

 

Hua Hee Puzzle

Hua Hee Puzzle comes in 10 designs of local food and heritage items. Aimed at invoking positive responses among seniors, it comes with brightly coloured designs. Hua Hee Puzzle comprises designs of Clogs, Ba Zhang, Otak Otak, Kueh Tutu, Satay, Tingkat, Trishaw, Curry Puff, Gasing, Teh. Each puzzle design is categorised by its frame colours.

Hua Hee Puzzle comes in 10 designs of local food and heritage items. Aimed at invoking positive responses among seniors, it comes with brightly coloured designs. Hua Hee Puzzle comprises designs of Clogs, Ba Zhang, Otak Otak, Kueh Tutu, Satay, Tingkat, Trishaw, Curry Puff, Gasing, Teh. Each puzzle design is categorised by its frame colours.

Hua Hee Puzzle comes in 10 designs of local food and heritage items.

Aimed at invoking positive responses among seniors, it comes with brightly coloured designs.

Hua Hee Puzzle comprises designs of Clogs, Ba Zhang, Otak Otak, Kueh Tutu, Satay, Tingkat, Trishaw, Curry Puff, Gasing, Teh. Each puzzle design is categorised by its frame colours.

Rules of Play

  1. Choose puzzle set to start with. Each puzzle is differentiated by its frame colour.
  2. Mix up the pieces and encourage your loved ones to form puzzles with them.

Help your loved ones train their brain & bring them on a walk down memory lane.

The designs can also be found in Hua Hee Matchoonary and Uniquely Singapore Colouring.

 

Meet me to play HuaHee?

I would love to be able to share with you the game creation process, my experience creating games, and most importantly, why i believe so much in early intervention.

Will you be keen if i invite you to a short sharing where you can also try out the games yourself?

And, share feedback with me as to what type of games you will like to see in the future?

Let me know if you’re interested! Email me at [email protected]!

 

If you’re interesting at getting the games, click 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.

ASPIRE 55

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.

Address:

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.

Do you want FREE activities for seniors? Leave your email address and we will send them to you.






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