Seniors Caring for Seniors Programme Success
It is great to be able to revisit stories and see the impact that some of our grants have on the organizations we partner with. You might remember the TOUCH Seniors Activity Centre from this blog we posted last year where we talked about how TOUCH is currently collaborating with Salesforce.org in all three aspects of our 1% model.
In this particular post, we wanted to focus on one of these aspects: equity, where employees tap on the matching grants provided by the Foundation and channel these financial resources towards a development of community programmes to deepen impact in the communities they serve.
Through this employee-driven initiative, complemented by a dollar to dollar match from Salesforce.org, Singapore employees spearheaded a company-wide fundraising activity to provide TOUCH Community Services with funding to develop their ‘Seniors Caring for Seniors’ programme at TOUCH Seniors Activity Centre – an initiative that would see seniors reaching out to more vulnerable peers in their communities, offering services like: befriending, errand running and general assistance; all of which assist in helping them to be healthy and cared for in the community for, delaying their needs for healthcare services and institutional care.
Through this pay-it-forward model, seniors who enrolled in the programme were able to
- Promote volunteerism and seniors’ strengths and abilities, making them feel valued, and enhancing their self-esteem.
- Encourage seniors to step out of their comfort zone and become active contributors in their community.
- Help to break the misconception that older people are useless and a burden to the society.
- Enable TOUCH Seniors Activity Centre to build a social support network among the seniors living in the community they serve.
We talked to TOUCH Seniors Activity Centre at the start of 2015 and they filled us in on how they were getting on. As at 31 December 2014 they had trained a total of 45 senior volunteers for the programme and are on target to recruit and train 70 volunteers by the end of 2015. Of the 45 Senior Volunteers, 41 carry out befriending services every Monday and they helped to visit more than 50 frail and lonely elderly in Geylang Bahru & Kallang Bahru on a weekly basis.
Some stories we received from both the volunteers and beneficiaries:
Mdm Ng Mui Tiang
Mdm Ng Mui Tiang, 74 years old and widowed, has been coping with the grief and loss of her late husband since 2013. Her rapport with TSAC staff gave her the courage to step out to volunteer under the centre’s Seniors Caring Seniors programme in October 2014.
Like most seniors, Mdm Ng was worried that at the age of 74, she would be unable to follow through on the trainings on practical helping skills such as wheelchair management, befriending, listening skills, reducing falls risks and responding to crises and emergencies.
TOUCH Community Services
With support from the staff and other volunteers, Mdm Ng graduated from the Seniors Caring Seniors training and reports at the centre on every Monday morning in her volunteer T-shirts. She was assigned to partner with another volunteer, Mdm Helen, 64 years old who was from an earlier batch of Senior Caring Senior training. Together they visit vulnerable seniors. Mdm Ng says that training helps her gain more knowledge, confidence and new skills in interacting with the assigned vulnerable seniors who are frail, home-bound or socially isolated and living alone at home.
Mdm Lim Kwee Khai
Mdm Lim Kwee Khai, single and 82 years old, is one of the beneficiaries that look forward to the weekly visits by Seniors Caring Seniors volunteers. Mdm Lim lives alone and does not have any family support. She has weak knees and requires walking aids and wheelchair to help her move around. She enjoys the volunteers’ visits and said: “the volunteers have become my close friends and they are very patient with me. They spend time to chit-chat with me, helping me to run errands or buy groceries.”
These are just a sample of the success stories that have come from TOUCH Seniors Activity Centre’s new programme. The team at TOUCH are skilled at identifying the needs of their community and driving programmes that truly impact the lives of all those who participate in them.
TOUCH Seniors Activity Centre
The centre had benefitted from the Seniors Caring for Seniors programme, as they can tap on the seniors’ strengths and abilities as well as empowering them to acquire new knowledge and skills. It helps to relieve the loneliness and social isolation of homebound seniors and encourages the seniors to step out of their comfort zone and be an active contributor to the community. The programme helps to break the misconception that older persons are useless and a burden to the society. The centre is glad that this programme has also help team to reach out to even more seniors. Read more about TOUCH senior services on their website: www.touch.org.sg
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