To encourage elderly to age well, it is not just about taking good care of their health but it also includes the type of activities they participate in. At their age, it is really important to take part in activities that are socially engaging so that they will be able to interact and make new friends. Usually, programmes in the community are designed to encourage social interactions among the elderly as much as possible. The elderly can gain a lot of benefits from these activities as they can learn new things, feel better about themselves and it can also prevent elderly depression.
Active Ageing Programmes
In Singapore, there are programmes designed for the elderly to age well through group exercise sessions and social activities. These active ageing programmes (AAPs) can be found in the neighbourhood and at community centres.
Exercise in a group
Group exercise sessions such as Zumba, Kpop fitness and aerobics help to train and strengthen their joints and muscles. This will help to lower the chances of them falling sick, reduce the severity of their illnesses, improve their circulation and reduce risk of falls.
Social activities such as workshops and classes exposes the seniors to new knowledge, skills and also new friends. They get to learn a range of topics from health and wellness to IT and science. Learning through programmes organised by the community centres means they are able to learn from a professional and will receive proper guidance through the classes or workshops. Other social activities that are more relaxing and entertaining includes karaoke sessions or having meals at cafes in the neighbourhood.
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Preventive care: Health screening
When it comes to ageing well, the elderly should prioritise their health and well-being. Especially at their age, they are vulnerable to diseases and illnesses. As we grow older, our immune system becomes weaker and the chances of us falling sick is higher. Therefore, it is important for the elderly to attend health check-ups and screening. This is to monitor their health and also to take early interventions if they are diagnosed with serious medical conditions.
It is recommended that the elderly go for a basic health check known as functional screening, in which three tests (vision, oral and hearing) will be conducted. They check the condition of their eyes, ears and mouth so that they will not experience any discomfort and are able to continue performing daily functions and activities as per normal. The sessions are organised at community centres on a scheduled basis. To find out about the sessions and FAQs on functional screening, click here.
Check for more serious conditions
There is another type of health screening that the elderly should be taking so that critical medical conditions can be detected and intervened as early as possible. There are different types of tests that are targeted towards specific age groups. For those who are 40 and above, they are recommended to take tests for chronic illnesses (e.g. high blood pressure, obesity, etc) and cervical cancer. It becomes more common to be diagnosed with chronic illnesses when we are older. For example, the chances of getting high blood pressure increases with age and diabetes is very common among older adults.
For the older adults aged 50 and above, there will be more tests that they should go for. They should test for chronic illnesses and cancers such as colorectal, breast and cervical cancer.
Screen for Life (SFL) is a national initiative to encourage people to attend regular health screenings. They provide subsidised health screenings for both Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. To go for a check-up, you can first take an online assessment to determine the type of screening you should go for. Next, you can locate the nearest GP clinic and make an appointment. Remember to bring along your NRIC and your CHAS/MG/PG card in order to get the subsidised health screening. For more information, click here.
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