Befriending seniors

by | March 23, 2015

 Students from Nanyang Polytechnic teach seniors how to use iPads and lead a qigong session.


Rachel Lee from Nanyang Polytechnic teaching a senior from Thye Hua Kwan's Senior Activity Centre how use the iPad.

Fifty students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) Students’ Union organised an iPad training session recently with 50 seniors from Thye Hua Kwan’s Senior Activity Centre so they could use the iPads available at the Centre.

The event was part of the Elderly Befriending Movement project, which is in partnership with the National Youth Council (NYC) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), and aims to integrate youths and seniors together through fun activities including the iPad training sessions.

As many seniors may be overwhelmed by new technology, these youths were more than eager to take up the challenge to support these seniors in developing their skills and confidence, which could improve their quality of life. Learning the iPad helps them to improve their motor skills, provide memory stimulation through reminiscence, and increase the ways of communication.


Positive feedback from youths

“This is my first time participating in the Elderly Befriending Movement. While I was quite apprehensive at first in communicating with the seniors, having peers who guided me through it helped a great deal,” said Rachel Lee, 19, from NYP’s Diploma in Business Management. “My friends advised me to be myself and be sincere about sharing my thoughts and feelings with the seniors. It was such a rewarding two-day experience for me and I look forward to more of such opportunities to spend time with seniors.”

The students also brought the seniors for a day out to the S.E.A. Aquarium at RWS and conducted a qigong exercise for them. “The best part about the interaction with the seniors was when they shared their amazing stories. During the trip to S.E.A. Aquarium, a senior shared with me about how he used to catch stingrays back in the kampung, and would go for BBQ with his dad. I could see how fond and lovely those memories were for him. It was also my first time trying qigong – I thought it was slow but fun!” said 19-year-old Fayth Lim from NYP’s Diploma in Medicinal Chemistry.


Eugene Ong was one of 50 students from NYP who took part in the Elderly Befriending Movement project.

More interactions to come

With more young people wanting to make a positive impact in the community, NYC and NYP hopes that this is a first step to many more platforms where they can create more opportunities for youths to develop their areas of interest in social media to benefit the community. In May, as part of the Movement, NYC and NYP will be organising a karaoke session with the same seniors at Thye Hua Kwan.

“I feel that this project was very meaningful and satisfying. The seniors were so happy to interact with us, and if there’s one thing that I learnt from the experience is that it does not take a lot to be happy. We could all learn to live simply and be happy,” shared Eugene Ong, 28, from NYP’s Diploma in Nursing.



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