Care Experiences Combats Social Isolation for Seniors

Care Experiences Combats Social Isolation for Seniors

December 11, 2019

Homage launches a new program, Care Experiences, to increase engagement and reduce social isolation and dementia among seniors in Singapore.

Homage, an on-demand caregiving services platform that combines qualified care professionals with smart technology, annouces the launch of Care Experiences – a new programme that will offer care recipients an opportunity to participate in and be connected to social activities within the community.

Supported by certified local caregivers, Care Experiences covers activities under Nature, Art and Culture, suited to the choice and interests of the care recipients, and is designed to increase their community and social engagement.

According to a 2019 study by Duke-NUS Medical School, the findings claim one in three Singaporeans aged 60 and above ‘feels somewhat or mostly lonely’. While this is an improvement from previous studies, social isolation remains a public health challenge in the country. Care Experiences says it aims to provide enjoyable experiences not only for healthy older adults but also for those that may require caregiver assistance with activities, particularly those with mild cognitive impairment and/or individuals in the early stages of dementia.

Homage Head of Community and Outreach Melissa Chan, one of the primary aims of the program is to reduce the social isolation that many seniors face in their sunset years, owing to decreased mobility or limited access to activities around them.

“At Homage, we understand that caregivers often want their loved ones to be involved with social activities with their interests at heart. Through Care Experiences, we want to provide the family support and opportunity for seniors to engage in such activities, suited to their interests and abilities, where everyone from the family can also participate,” says Chan.

Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy engagement routine and interactive activities have a long-lasting impact on one’s cognitive health and activities of daily living. In a longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University College London using data from 1985 to 2013 from 10,228 participants found that people who are socially engaged in their 50s and 60s might have lower risks of developing dementia later in their lives.

Through a combination of home-based, neighbourhood, and other customised activities depending on the choice of the families, Chan says Care Experiences is a means to help seniors lead an active and fulfilling life. Homage has partnered with various activity hosts and partners to offer activities including visits to markets and grocery marts, parks, shopping malls and exercise corners, curated sessions like museums and nature park visits, and gift activities like pottery, cooking, music and other partner organized workshops.

Homage has also joined hands with Airbnb Experiences and Edible Garden City to ensure that Care Experiences has a wider reach and comprehensive array of activities, for its users.

Airbnb Experiences offers access to activities led by locals that are engaging and different from regular travel itineraries. Homage is actively working together with Airbnb to curate senior-friendly experiences as well as bringing Airbnb Experiences to their current customer segment. Airbnb says it will also be working with Homage to educate hosts on best practices when hosting senior participants.

Edible Garden City is an initiative offering nature-based workshops facilitated by experienced farmers and horticulture therapy-trained educators. The sessions are aimed to help participants develop mental clarity and physical wellness through nature interaction and lifestyle activities. Basics of Gardening, Wellness Teas, and Farm-To-Table are some of the offerings Edible Garden City has for seniors.

Presently, a one time Care Experience costs SGD 68 which one 3-hours session from a curated care experiences list, in-app visit summary, and real-time chat with the care professional. In addition, families can choose to take a Care Experiences Pack for SGD 240 per month, which includes four 3-hours sessions per month.

According to Homage CEO and Co-Founder Gillian Tee, the idea for the program was rooted in her personal desire to find activities she could enjoy with her parents.

“Care Experiences was conjured as I was thinking through what I would love to enjoy with my mother, bringing care outside of home to the activities we love and enjoy together with our loved ones. At Homage, the wellbeing of our care recipients is our core focus and we are glad to give caregiving support to help our loved ones engage with the diverse range of vibrant social opportunities in Singapore,” says Tee.

Through Care Experiences, Tee says Homage hopes to enrich the caregiving ecosystem of Singapore and develop a holistic framework of collaborations among different players. Homage also aims to take this program wider with more partnerships and cover more social activities for the seniors in 2020.

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