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I have always wondered what I will be doing on most days when I have difficulties in walking, when I am lonely and when I grow old. My time will come. But, not yet, I can still walk, I can still work, and I like to work for as long as my legs allow me. Of course, soon or later, I cannot work; but I want to keep myself active, and maybe do some volunteer work. That’s if I have the money to live through my SilverHairs years.
A couple of days ago, I visited a privately-run daycare centre in Australia. It has a size of about 400 sqm. It opens Monday to Friday 10.30am to 3.00 pm. The Daycare is run by some fulltime staff and some volunteers. It has a good size kitchen that prepares food and drinks for the elderlies that come to the centre.
The Daycare has a program, with different activities each day eg singing, poetry, crafts, games, magic show, indoor golf, ….. The activities are organised by the full time staff. The elderlies, all of them, require some help in moving around, and thus not bed-ridden. The daycare accepts elderlies who are not suffering from contagious diseases, dimentia, and mental illnesses. They live within a certain distance from the day-care and are picked up by a van driver from their residence. They arrive at the daycare at 10.30am each day, in a specially designed van.
The kitchen services the daycare and cooks the meal of the day, as well as prepares hot beverages and biscuits twice a day. The kitchen is run by a full time staff. Volunteers assist in the kitchen, serves the elderlies and generally clean up the place after lunch.
While at the daycare, elderlies get to play games, learn a craft, enjoy singing, do some gardening and follow the program of the day. Many elderlies are lonely and they do not want to stay at home. Their children prefers they go out, keep active and mix with other friends. At the end of the day, the elderlies are happy, and look forward to meeting other elderlies on other days.
I spoke with the staff of the daycare centre. The daycare employs some full time paid staff who administrates the centre, organises the activities and the daycare operation which includes picking up the elderlies from and to their homes. The volunteers help with interacting with the elderlies, keeps the place clean and tidy and other odds and ends. The centre is self funded, and it survives based on collections from the elderlies. At the end of each day, the centre collects between AUD 25 – 30 from the elderlies. This includes home-daycare centre transfers, a main meal, two tea-breaks, activities and program as per published schedules, plus a healthy day interacting with other elderlies.
I am not sure if the daycare centre is privately owned or rented. But, I see it as located within a quiet residential community. The daycare pays for maintenance, lightings and water tilities and upkeep of the building.
I am not sure how daycare centres are operated in Singapore; but I see some silver linings in a daycare centre.
- There are opportunities for seniors and elderlies to use the services of a privately daycare centre.
- Full time seniors get to work and get paid in a daycare centre, not a home or a hospital.
- Opportunities for seniors to volunteer some time to interact with elderlies who are lonely, chatty, fun and need someone to talk to.
I think each of us has a different vision of what we will do when we have difficulties walking, cannot leave our homes on our own or meet friends without assisted transport or feel lonely while our children are working to earn a living. Many of our children would hope we can spend some time outside to get some fresh air, meet our regular friends and have our regular lunch.
Will you go to a Daycare centre and join its activities?