The Active Aging Center caters to low-income seniors and teaches them useful skills

SINGAPORE — At this active aging center, seniors can not only interact with their peers, but also learn new skills such as first aid and attend professionally-taught classes at heavily subsidized rates.

The wellness center, Sheng Hong Active Aging Hub @ Sennett, aims to meet the needs of low-income seniors with programs and activities at a subsidized monthly fee of $32.

The centre, which began operations during the peak of Covid-19 in late 2019, was officially opened at a ceremony in Macpherson on Wednesday.

People between the ages of 50 and 105 can benefit from four facilities in the hub – day care, day rehabilitation, active aging centers and a facility called Lifepoint, where older people can begin their end-of-life planning and enroll in National Silver Academy Courses to hone their life skills.

The daycare, which can accommodate 60 clients, offers programs such as peer-to-peer social interaction and volunteer care for those in need.

The rehabilitation center, with a limit of 10 people, offers physiotherapy and occupational therapy, primarily to seniors with dementia, stroke, and those needing to recover from such illnesses. Each session is priced at $1, plus the basic monthly fee.

The Active Seniors Center, with a 60 person limit, offers programs for seniors to participate in local tours, educational classes, health talks, gardening and dancing. As part of the educational programs, seniors can learn how to perform first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, from officers of the Singapore Civil Defense Force.

Society of Sheng Hong Welfare Services president Adrian Long said seniors have also learned to use certain apps on their cellphones through educational programs. “Since Covid-19, there have been important apps that everyone in Singapore needs to learn to use, like TraceTogether and SingPass,” he added.

The wellness centre, which has 780 registered clients, occupies 1030 m² (about one-sixth the size of a football field) and can accommodate up to 120 clients per day.

Most of its customers live near the center, but those who live further away are entitled to round-trip transportation, which is covered by the monthly fee.

Mr Long said: “We wanted the center to be spacious as a common complaint amongst older people is that most wellness centers are small with low ceilings which makes them feel claustrophobic.

“We also strongly believe that being in a good environment plays an important mental role.”