The elderly folk and volunteers from COPE jump on the bandwagon in a visit to the theme park.
Contributed By Sim Yee Tat
COPE has been collaborating with the South East Community Development Council since 1999, making a difference in various housing estates in the Mountbatten and Potong Pasir constituencies, reaching out to close to 1,000 senior citizens. A service provided by City Harvest Community Services Association, COPE stands for Community Outreach Program for the Elderly.
“COPE is an initiative that was started to befriend the elderly, to raise awareness of elderly healthcare issues, to provide assistance to the elderly in cleaning their homes, to provide medical escort and grocery shopping assistance, as well as to organize outings for the elderly,” said COPE’s program manager, Irene
Ho, highlighting its purpose and vision. Volunteers and staff carry out home and hospital visits, have meals with the elderly, deliver groceries, and organize monthly community events to encourage socializing and interaction among the eldery citizens.
On Nov. 27, COPE organized an event at Universal Studios Singapore with the active participation of 288 elderly and a team of 35 volunteers. From the onset, the elderly displayed enthusiasm, queuing up excitedly for their registration and boarding the bus in an orderly manner. Upon reaching USS, the group was met with a beehive of activities, from tourists queuing to take photos with character mascots to families posing for pictures with iconic features found within the attraction.
All the COPE participants listened eagerly to the briefing of their tour itinerary, while volunteers provided much needed support by leading the elderly through the different parts of the attraction. They also facilitated a smooth progression of the entire event by guiding the elderly through the program, constantly keeping a lookout for those who needed special assistance.
COPE’s tour of USS incorporated a competition that required the elderly to spot and identify certain features of the attraction and matching it to images given in a question sheet. Participants were divided into teams and had to work with their teammates to complete the quiz in the shortest amount of time. It provided much bonding and camaraderie among everyone as they worked together toward a common objective.
One of the participants, Mary Ng, 50, who is self-employed, appreciated the efforts of the organizers and commented that it was an “eye-opener” for the elderly to explore a place that is “youthful” and contemporary. The beneficiaries were not the only ones who were full of praise about the event coordination. Said Koh Kai Lin, 24, a project executive and a volunteer with COPE, “We would like to explore new experiences that will engage the elderly. We also hope that events such as these will pave the way for more volunteers to join and help us in our future projects”.
|CN PHOTOS: Daniel Poh|
Ho hopes that such activities can offer innovative experiences for the elderly and help them to bond with one another through such outings, acting as a platform for clients to find a renewed sense of identity and confidence through the different activities being planned for the future. Some upcoming events include outdoor movie screenings as well as Christmas celebrations.
“We are looking forward to the opening of a new elderly care center in Pine Close come February, where more activities can be held for these elderly folk,” added Ho. Currently, the complex is in the midst of renovation.