PA wellness programme islandwide by 2015

PHOTO: PA wellness programme islandwide by 2015

The People's Association (PA) plans to extend a wellness programme, targeted at Singapore residents aged 50 and above, to all 87 consti- tuencies islandwide by 2015.

Since its launch in 2008, it has involved 148,000 seniors above the age of 50 and raised the participation rate in community activities among those surveyed, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

PA wants to reach out to 500,000 seniors by 2015, to encourage them "to stay physically, mentally and socially active, and to go for regular health screenings".

Mr Gan, who is also Minister-in-Charge of Ageing Issues, was speaking at Hougang Community Club at the launch of the Nurses' Initiative for Community Engagement (Nice). Nice is a ground-up community- service programme started by a group of nurses, doctors and lay volunteers.

Volunteer registered nurses conduct one-to-one home visits and offer in-depth health assessments to home-bound senior residents under this initiative. Nice has started work in Hougang and Marine Parade, and will move on to Henderson next.

PA's wellness pro- gramme was introduced in Hougang in 2010 and about 2,000 seniors have taken part in the activities. Mr Gan said: "We must work together with the private and people sectors if we want to respond effectively to the challenges of an ageing population."

Active ageing involves the individual, the family unit and the community, he added. "Nice demon- strates the leadership that the nursing profession can bring to aged care," said Mr Gan.

Also present at the event was Mr Desmond Choo, who represented the People's Action Party in Hougang during last year's general election. An adviser to Hougang grassroots organisations, he said he is "always ready" to serve residents in the single- member constituency.

"We're always ready - ready in the sense that we've been serving the people, whether there's a by-election or not. It doesn't really distract us from our main work, which is service here," said Mr Choo.

He added: "I feel more confident about how best I can serve the residents here. You have to understand the people and you have to build the relationship. Only then can you muster more resources to help them."

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