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Activity centres help seniors stay active: Ong Ye Kung

Toh Yong Chuan on 04 Mar 2018

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE - Madam Lee Quek Eng, a 70-year-old grandmother, has never done a watercolour painting or taken any art lessons before. But on Sunday, her watercolour painting of a landscape scenery was proudly displayed at the Pacific Activity Centre in Yishun Street 31.


The painting was done under the watchful eyes of her art teacher Ekaterina Fasolko, a 24-year-old Singapore-based Russian engineer who volunteers at the centre.


The art lessons were among the activities organised by the centre at the void deck of Block 333B. The centre organises daily activities for residents like Madam Lee who live at the Housing Board studio flats in the neighbourhood.


The constituency's MP Ong Ye Kung visited the centre on on Sunday (March 4).


These activity centres help seniors stay active as they age, he said.


"They bring activities to the ground," said Mr Ong, who is also Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills). The centres provide the "last mile" of services to the seniors by bringing services to seniors right at the doorstep of where they live, he added.


Besides the centre in Yishun that Mr Ong visited on Sunday, Pacific Activity Centre runs 10 other centres in constituencies such as Punggol, Tampines and Tiong Bahru where there are clusters of HDB studio flats.


The network of centres for seniors is part of the Pacific Healthcare Holdings, which is well known for its nursing homes.


The founder of the network, Dr William Chong, said that the centres have expanded their range of activities to cater to the seniors. "Besides the regular exercise, mahjong and karaoke sessions, we have included yoga, art therapy and dance classes," he noted.


While these activities draw some interests, some of the seniors said it was the company of other seniors that draw them to the centre.


Madam Tan Yin Keow, 94, is one of the oldest seniors who visit the centre daily. "I live alone, so I come here everyday just to be with friends," said the grandmother in Teochew.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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