Ageing isn’t something most people think positively about. Think of old age and most people – especially seniors themselves – would naturally fixate on the negatives. Yet for young charity Empower Ageing, it’s been changing entrenched mindsets with a series of innovative programmes and solutions – including a clarion call to seniors to ‘go for your mountain’.
On a learning journey for Seniors Colabs, representatives from various sectors joined Empower Ageing at Cornerstone Senior Centre in Cheng San. During the ice-breaking session, Colabs participants were challenged by Empower Ageing’s founder Isaiah Chng to reconsider their assumptions about old age. Instead of viewing old age as a time of disempowerment and frailty, can seniors be encouraged to think differently?
The morning kicked off with an exercise session conducted by Empower Ageing with over 40 seniors from the community. The session was intentionally crafted to build a sense of empowerment, with facilitators encouraging seniors to take active steps in maintaining their physical health. A lively sense of group camaraderie could be observed, as seniors gathered in groups to support each other in performing a series of exercises designed to enhance their strength and mobility. Designed with the concept of ‘reaxing’, the session featured exercise equipment that trains seniors to physically respond to unpredictable situations in daily life. At times, individual seniors would themselves take the intiative to teach fellow members and newcomers the exercise moves
During the discussions that followed, Colabs participants were impressed by the engagement levels of the seniors, many of whom attend the sessions five times per week. One key learning point for Colabs participants was the importance of collecting and tracking data, so that the seniors could see the tangible physical improvements from the exercise sessions. Another key learning point was the importance of how integrating positive mindsets about ageing helps seniors build confidence and motivation.
Colabs participants were also exposed to new models and concepts of empowering seniors in the community. These include integrating physical rehabilitation with the daily life and environment of the seniors, and the GYM challenge that inspires seniors to go beyond their physical limitations.
Ageing well is critically relevant to all of us – not just those who have already entered into their golden years. The Colabs learning journey empowered participants with a new concept of successful ageing, with a view of applying insights to their own organisations.
Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. It drives collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues. It enables philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to collectively build insights and co-create solutions for lasting change.