Saturday, June 26, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 4 (26th June)

Today I have observed that it is very hard for the elderly to go out and have fun. They normally must go to the void deck to have fun or stay at home to watch TV. Sometimes they have nobody at home that makes them feel very lonely and dejected. Here are some ideas that I came up with.

An elderly focus group. A small centre can be set - up under every block. The elderly in that block can go down there to watch TV with each other.They also can talk and make friends to bond the community. This way it will not be a place where nobody says hi and thinks that everyone is a stranger.

Elderly CCAs. CCAs such as Line Dancing, Sewing, etc. can be introduced in Community Centres exclusively for senior citizens. This will make them feel as if they are a important part of society. They can enter national and international competitions to make Singapore proud.

Elderly Committee. This is where senior citizens can give the government suggestions how to make Singapore a better place for the elderly. This gives the elderly a voice. This way they will be recognised in the society and they can also create a better life for themselves.

This is overall what I think the elderly should have and should do to create a better life for them in Singapore.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Holiday Homework Part 3: Elderly Room

video

This is the Elderly Friendly House I created with Phun.

Holiday Homework Part 1: Understanding the Elderly

1. Explain in your own words, the FOUR key recommendations of the report.

The first key recommendation is Housing for Seniors. This is where the elderly can be part of the community and their housing needs are all met. This is complemented by good care services for them too. The motive is to show that Singapore is the best home for all ages.

The second key recommendation is Accessibility for Seniors. This is where Singapore will be an elderly friendly place which seniors can easily access. This starts with their homes, transport, infrastructure environment etc. The motive is for Singapore to be a place where the elderly can easily roam and live.

The third key recommendation is Caring for Seniors. This is where sufficient healthcare and eldercare will be given to the elderly. The services will address all needs and will have the best quality. It will be suited to the elderly in areas such as cost and accessibility. The motive is for the elderly to be able to receive good quality healthcare and eldercare.

The fourth key recommendation is Opportunities for Seniors. This is where the elderly are part of Singapore. They will have better relationships and a healthy lifestyle. They will be an eaqual member of Singapore and will have friends young and old. The motive is to have the elderly as an equal member of society.

2. State ONE way that the CAI report is recommending to make our public housing more elderly-friendly.

One way is to have non-slip tiles.Most elderly people have trouble walking. This makes it very easy for them to fall or slip. If the surface is slippery or does not have enough friction they will fall. This can cause them to break their already weak bones or to strain their muscles. Having non - slip tiles will decrease the chances of them falling. This will take a burden of their shoulders by not having the worry of falling.

3. State TWO ways on how we can ensure that the quality of elderly care here in Singapore is affordable.

One way is the government who can ensure that no matter what the change is in the market of treatment. The elderly will always be able to afford the treatment so that they can lead a healthy lifestyle. It could be starting campaigns, waive of payment, increasing CPF, etc.

Another way is to increase the variety of treatment. This way if the elderly do not have enough money to go for a specific treatment they can go for another cheaper one that treats the same thing. The downside is that the elderly may not be informed about the variety of treatment. So introducing it is not enough but methods such as mail or advertisments must be in place so that the elderly get to know of it.

4. After reading the CAI report, what do you are the THREE things that you can do, as an SST student, to help overcome these elderly challenges.

We can create rooms and suggest ideas that we can give to a company that specialises in it. They can build a prototype and test it out. If it works they can advertise it to help the elderly. This way we students are helping the elderly lead a better life.

We can create a CCA Club that goes to an old age home to clean and entertain the senior citizens there. This will help make it a brighter place for the senior citizens who are alone. Even though it may seem pointless to you it really makes a big difference to them.

We can raise money to help the senior citizens in homes. We could start a car wash or create a campaign. This can increase the qualities of the homes or can but treatment for the residents.

Holiday Homework Part 1: Understanding the Elderly

1. Explain in your own words, the FOUR key recommendations of the report.

The first key recommendation is Housing for Seniors. This is where the elderly can be part of the community and their housing needs are all met. This is complemented by good care services for them too. The motive is to show that Singapore is the best home for all ages.

The second key recommendation is Accessibility for Seniors. This is where Singapore will be an elderly friendly place which seniors can easily access. This starts with their homes, transport, infrastructure environment etc. The motive is for Singapore to be a place where the elderly can easily roam and live.

The third key recommendation is Caring for Seniors. This is where sufficient healthcare and eldercare will be given to the elderly. The services will address all needs and will have the best quality. It will be suited to the elderly in areas such as cost and accessibility. The motive is for the elderly to be able to receive good quality healthcare and eldercare.

The fourth key recommendation is Opportunities for Seniors. This is where the elderly are part of Singapore. They will have better relationships and a healthy lifestyle. They will be an eaqual member of Singapore and will have friends young and old. The motive is to have the elderly as an equal member of society.

2. State ONE way that the CAI report is recommending to make our public housing more elderly-friendly.

One way is to have non-slip tiles.Most elderly people have trouble walking. This makes it very easy for them to fall or slip. If the surface is slippery or does not have enough friction they will fall. This can cause them to break their already weak bones or to strain their muscles. Having non - slip tiles will decrease the chances of them falling. This will take a burden of their shoulders by not having the worry of falling.

3. State TWO ways on how we can ensure that the quality of elderly care here in Singapore is affordable.

One way is the government who can ensure that no matter what the change is in the market of treatment. The elderly will always be able to afford the treatment so that they can lead a healthy lifestyle. It could be starting campaigns, waive of payment, increasing CPF, etc.

Another way is to increase the variety of treatment. This way if the elderly do not have enough money to go for a specific treatment they can go for another cheaper one that treats the same thing. The downside is that the elderly may not be informed about the variety of treatment. So introducing it is not enough but methods such as mail or advertisments must be in place so that the elderly get to know of it.

4. After reading the CAI report, what do you are the THREE things that you can do, as an SST student, to help overcome these elderly challenges.

We can create rooms and suggest ideas that we can give to a company that specialises in it. They can build a prototype and test it out. If it works they can advertise it to help the elderly. This way we students are helping the elderly lead a better life.

We can create a CCA Club that goes to an old age home to clean and entertain the senior citizens there. This will help make it a brighter place for the senior citizens who are alone. Even though it may seem pointless to you it really makes a big difference to them.

We can raise money to help the senior citizens in homes. We could start a car wash or create a campaign. This can increase the qualities of the homes or can but treatment for the residents.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 3 (16th June)

What I have observed so far is that it is hard for the elderly to travel. Firstly taxis. For any senior citizen. It is hard to get into a cab. Firstly they have to step onto the road, then into the taxi for them to get in. The they have to bend in and drop on to the seat. First the two steps. For anyone like us it would be very easy, but for them it would take a toll on their legs, which could easily break if it is done too fast. Secondly the bend. This can hurt the elderly very much. There will be a high strain on their backs when they do this. This can cause them to be immobile for a few seconds. The chances are higher if they do not have enough calcium in their system. The last part is where they get seated. Even though it may seem like a harmless enough action. This can leave them breathless as their insides rise and then drop down. Most of us must have felt that feeling before especially during bungee jumping. For the elderly being breathless can also lead to death. My suggestion is the seat can extend out from the taxi. May seem a bit far fetched but it is possible. Just picture the sliding function of a fireman's ladder. That can be put under the seat be operated by pulleys which are powered by motors.

Another mode that is not user friendly is the bus. But not so much nowadays. Buses are very hard to climb up. Firstly the first step is hard to reach. The to climb up the steps is another pain. If it is crowded they might not get a seat and of it is a double-decker bus, the elderly would not even be able to climb up the stairs to get a seat. If they are wheel chair bound it will be worse. Even though they have wheel chair buses. They only help wheel chair bound people. Not the elderly as a whole. I suggest that ALL buses have this ramp that all elderly people can use. For the stairs, maybe the height of each step can be thinner.

Lastly the MRT. It seems easy for the elderly to get on an MRT. There is even a lift to help them to the platform, but it is still not enough. The MRT Station is very crowded during peak hours. This gives them a chance to fall, for the wheel chair bound no space to move. For the wheel chair bound it will also be hard to rush to get into the train. Even if they do get in it will be hard to maneuver their wheel chairs and if it is very crowded they will not be able to move. I think they should have a wheel chair carriage that has wheel chair parking spaces and an elderly carriage that is filled with seats that have a barricade in between each seat for them to push themselves up.

I think that public transport are already doing a lot for the elderly, but these are just things that they can improve on.

Elderly Challenge - Observation 2 (9th June)

For the past few days I have observed that HDB Buildings are less elderly friendly. Firstly the lifts. If a senior citizen has trouble walking or is in a wheel chair, it will be very difficult for them. If there is a fire, lifts will not be able to be used. So if they stay in a high level they will have a hard time trying to escape from the fire. If they have trouble walking climbing down the stairs will be very slow and arduous. Even with assisted help the journey will still be slow and painful. It will just become much safer the senior citizen. If the person is in a wheel chair they will never be able to go down. If there is someone to help them the person who is helping must be very strong so that they can push the person down step by step without losing their grip. A suggestion to HDB will be to have half the staircase with normal stairs and the other half with a slope that has tracks for wheel chairs. Moreover wheel chairs would be a good investment for people who can not walk fast, so that when an emergency like this happens they can use it against the tracks.

Another problem is the lifts. Any senior citizen in a wheel chair would need to use the lift. But wheel chairs take up half the space of the lift. This means that if there a lot of people waiting in the void deck for the lift, many people will have to wait as at the most only two other people other than the person in the wheel chair and the helper would be able to go in, unlike under normal circumstances where 8 people can fit in with a squeeze. A good improvement would be to increase the size of lifts so that they are wheel chair friendly.

Most shelters cum connectors surrounding my block have very bumpy surfaces. For anybody in a wheel chair this will cause them to shake a lot. This will cause extreme pain to the spinal cord or their legs if they are very week. If the senior citizen cannot walk properly the chances of them tripping and falling even with a walking stick is very high. I suggest that a flat surface is built but with the smoothness of sand paper. This will give the elderly grip but a smooth ride.

This time I feel that if these ideas are all suggested it could really be a safer place for the elderly to live in.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 1 (2nd June)

To begin with the elderly have many problems. Let me list down a few and how most senior citizens cope with it.

From my observations many elderly people have troubles walking properly. In the rain the danger level for them is worse as the chances of them falling is higher. the chances are at its peak when they are carrying items. There are three simple solutions. Firstly they either have a full time maid to help them do everything. The second solution is a walking stick, but it is not as effective as it would be difficult for them to hold the umbrella and walk with the walking stick at the same time. The last solution is having an umbrella cum walking stick. It is basically an umbrella that has a firm rubber base to increase friction. So, when it rains they can easily use it as umbrella and when it is dry they can use it as a walking aid.

Another difficulty is cleaning up the house. All forms of cleaning activities involve stretching, mainly of the back. As we grow older our spine becomes weaker and weaker so when we stretch it we can do serious damage to it. It also requires bending of the knees which is also a strain for the elderly. Again a full time maid is a good way. Another way is a part time maid that comes every week. Some senior citizens take it upon themselves to clean their own house, but that is a huge risk for them especially if their house is very big.

One other strenuous activity is going down to get groceries. This erquires carrying a heavy load that again strains the back. It also weakens the arms. A solution that most elderly use is using the trolley which really lightens their load. Again the full time maid comes in to help. If they think they are healthy they would do it themselves which is not a safe option.

Lastly going to the toilet. It might seem simple enough but it is very difficult for them. Firstly the water on the floor makes it slippery. This makes it very easy for them to fall. Secondly most toilets have no handrails to hold onto so if they fall there is no turning back. The full time maid is one solution. Another one is a caretaker who bathes and helps the elderly in the toilet. Some elderly install railings in the toilet walls. Another group buys toilets which have a glass door separating the bathing area which is the wet area from the toilet area. The last solution some people use is to put rubber stickers on the toilet floor and the bath tub floor.

So far this is what I know and have witnessed. I feel that if someone really puts their mind to it many more innovative solutions to the problems of the elderly. This way the elderly can be 99.99% safe.