Our Community Hub located in the heart of Fernvale includes a congregation of energetic seniors and volunteers doing exercises like Tai Chi and Cardio Boxing every morning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, engagement with the seniors who are the most vulnerable was put on hold. The pandemic has affected the mental wellness and emotional stability of the society. SATA CommHealth saw this alarming trend and decided to bring their usual activities into the comfort of residents’ homes in line with the guidelines by the Ministry of Health (MOH). The main challenge was to get seniors on board the idea of online activities. However, some residents did not have mobile phones, tablets or even internet connections, while those who did were not equipped with the knowledge on how to utilise it. Our staff arranged for a group of active volunteers as trainers to teach the residents two main applications – WhatsApp and Zoom. The digital training sessions garnered high interest within our circle of residents. The training is conducted at our Community Hub. In line with MOH guidelines, each slot was dedicated to only 1 participant, and safe distancing measures are observed throughout.
The trainer covered the basics of each application such as application installation, how to send pictures, messages and voice message, how to make calls, adding new contacts and how to join Zoom meetings. Each training ends with a real-time Zoom meeting which allows the organisers and our staff to gauge the level of understanding of our participants and ensure they can use the applications independently.
Despite a trial conducted a week before our inaugural morning exercise online, some residents still faced issues such as audio, internet and inability with switching on their video. Nonetheless, we are glad that the residents found the sessions engaging, and they are looking forward to future sessions. Our Community Hub is always exploring opportunities to engage with our residents such as organising virtual health talks, exercises by HPB, the HAPPY programme by RSVP (external vendor to conduct exercise) and cooking programmes. Our staff at the community hub is very enthusiastic about meeting more residents and connecting with them via these platforms.