When City Harvest Community Services Association was established, one of the first communities we reached out to was to the elderly. As early as 1997, volunteers started doing visits at older estates, such as one-room units at Dakota Crescent.
Starting with needs analysis, medical escort, home cleaning, meals and grocery delivery to those in need and a simple befriender’s program, our work with the elderly expanded upon our first partnership with the South East Community Development Council (SECDC) in 1999. It is from this collaboration we went from serving 211 beneficiaries in 1997 to 1,366 beneficiaries in 2015—an effort made possible by a team of 4 staff and 40 volunteers. Our longstanding partnership with SECDC and grassroots leaders in the Mountbatten area also paved the way for the birth of the House of JOY Centre in 2011.
House of Joy Centre
“JOY” stands for “Joining the Old and the Young”. The Centre focuses on preventing social isolation among the elderly through increasing interactions between the old and the young. We believe deeply in preventive services, targeting to reach those at risk before they fall through the gaps. With an emphasis on assisting the elderly achieve holistic wellness, our programs fall into 3 categories:
Such programs aim to stimulate the mind and provide avenues for the elderly to stay healthy. The focus is on getting the elderly on the track of lifelong learning and continual engagement. This includes weekly health or learning based programs such as Chess, Chair Yoga, Conversational English and Rummikub.
Social Service Programs
This includes counselling and case management services for those elderly in need. We also run social learning programs for the elderly, such as thematic movie screenings with focused discussions, or support group sessions that address topics on life in the community are held on a regular basis.
Beyond a weekly visitation program to the elderly, festive parties are held to celebrate public holidays and special occasions with the senior citizens, particularly those who are living on their own. Outings are also organized to bring beneficiaries to various places of interest in Singapore, or even to sites of learning so as to provide a bridge for the elders to stay part of the changing times. Regular interest group activities also provide an avenue for diversional therapy as well as the cultivation of new passions.