Healthy ageing and vascular dementia workshops
Special edition ‘Balik Kampung’ workshops aim to reach over 280 seniors, to trigger reminiscing and keep the mind active.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has partnered senior activity centres and the National Museum of Singapore (NMS) to pilot a special edition of ‘Balik Kampung’ workshops from July to December 2023 to engage seniors on ageing well and increase their awareness of vascular dementia. In line with HealthierSG’s focus on preventive care, this is an extension of HPB’s efforts to reach out to even more seniors on healthy ageing activities. By empowering seniors to take charge of their health, they can enjoy a good quality of life in their golden years.
Since 2019, HPB has rolled out mental well-being workshops in the community, known as ‘Balik Kampung’, to help seniors keep socially connected and mentally stimulated to reduce their risk of developing mental health conditions such as dementia. More than 6,000 seniors have attended the sessions since its introduction. To engage and interest more seniors to participate, a special edition is being piloted within the premises of the museum, drawing on elements of nostalgia to enhance the learning experience for seniors.
The special edition ‘Balik Kampung’ workshops targets to reach 280 seniors from 14 senior activity centres. Since July this year, five sessions have been conducted for 150 seniors. The workshops are held at the Reunion, a social space for seniors in the NMS. For the first time, seniors can get to participate in various nostalgia-inducing activities such as playing the traditional ‘five stones’ game and, singing and dancing to songs from the 50s to 70s. Through these activities, seniors can revisit the past and rekindle their memories. Encouraging seniors to recall and reminisce may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and in turn reduce the risk of dementia.
This special edition workshop consists of two parts. In the first part of the workshop, through a Keep My Brain Active module under ‘Balik Kampung’, participants will learn that vascular dementia is not part of normal ageing and will participate in cognitive games which help to keep them mentally active. Embedded into the segment will be simple to understand, educational information on how to keep mentally and physically active, eat healthily and reduce the risk of developing vascular dementia.
In the second part of the workshop, seniors will participate in facilitated museum activities such as creating their own virtual exhibition at Memory Lane, where they can select from a range of environments such as a kampung house and furnish it with 2D scanned artefacts from the museum’s collection. Seniors will also be able to sing and dance to songs from the 50s to 70s at the music booths in Reunion, and go on a guided tour at one of the museum’s permanent galleries which document the development of Singapore over the years. These activities help to enhance the impact of the workshops for seniors, creating a conducive environment to reminisce good times and memories, and spark conversations about their personal experiences from the past. These forms of mental stimulation and keeping the mind active can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and in turn reduce the risk of vascular dementia.
Since its rollout in 2019, more than 6,000 seniors have participated in ‘Balik Kampung’ workshops. In 2022 alone, the workshops in the community were attended by over 3,000 seniors, with 93 percent of them agreeing that they will apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt. Seniors can register for the community sessions via the Healthy 365 mobile application and visit LiveWellAgeWell.gov.sg for more information.
(** PHOTO CREDITS: Health Promotion Board)