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Infusion of new technology to benefit seniors in active ageing

Zafirah Salim | Oct. 8, 2015
Tablets, senior-friendly applications and a robot capable of conducting exercises will soon benefit 25 senior activity centres nationwide.

Tablets, senior-friendly applications and a robot capable of conducting exercises will soon benefit 25 senior activity centres nationwide, announced Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at the opening of the Silver IT Fest held at the Nanyang Polytechnic Auditorium on October 3.

Three of these senior activity centres have started day programmes using tablets and applications with features capable of facilitating interactions, simulating mental exercise, and boosting memory.  

Organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in partnership with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) as well as industry and community partners, the Silver IT Fest aims to promote IT literacy and enhance the lives of seniors through hands-on training workshops, exhibitions and seminars on infocomm.

As part of IDA's Silver Infocomm Initiative (SII), the Silver IT Fest - held from October 1 to 11 - is aligned with the recommendations under the Infocomm Media 2025 plan that seeks to harness the power of IT to improve the citizens' quality of life, including those of seniors.

One of the key highlights of this year's Silver IT Fest 2015 is the Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors, an initiative spearheaded by the People's Association (PA) Active Ageing Council and IDA to encourage active ageing and lifelong learning in the community. This year, 20 IT-savvy active agers were appointed, bringing the total number of lauded seniors to 102 since 2012.

According to Dr Yaacob, these Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors are "inspiring role models who can encourage other seniors to learn to use IT and social media to expand their knowledge, pursue their hobbies and interests and stay connected with the rest of the community."

"One of the roles of the Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors is to lead IT Interest Groups formed under the PA Wellness Programme, where seniors come together to learn and explore basic IT skills such as smartphone clinics or social media knowledge such as Facebook," he added.

At the event, Dr Yaacob also talked about Smart Eldercare, a joint initiative by IDA, A*STAR, NTUC Health and St Luke's Eldercare, to identify the key challenges faced in caring for our seniors and explore how technology can be effectively used to address these challenges. Technical trials will also be carried out at the eldercare facilities identified by NTUC Health and St Luke's Eldercare.

For instance, more than 800 patients have also benefited as a result of the remote patient monitoring trial conducted at National University Hospital (NUH) over the past year. Patients with health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes issued with Bluetooth-enabled devices so that they can check their vital signs in the comfort of their homes. These readings are then transmitted wirelessly to healthcare providers to ensure timely assessment by the hospitals.

 

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