Founder's Blog: Janice Chia 
  • I am often asked why a young person like myself would want to start ASPIRE55? When I first brought up the idea and brainstormed it with fellow co-founder, Yiing Ching (YC), we talked about it with our family members in mind. How would they age, where would they live, what type of activities and services they would need if they were to continue living in their own homes. As such, ASPIRE55 has been and will always be a family oriented village, where we bring our families and friends together, and we welcome new members into the ASPIRE55 family.
    Grandma, then at 80 years old has always been one of my biggest inspirations for my focus on the ageing sector. When I brought her on a cruise recently, she was walking stronger and more steadily than people over 10 years younger than her. Since a year ago, she has been regularly introduced to different activities and new friends. She works out twice a week and she loves chatting with younger friends. When she goes to the park downstairs, she loves practicing English with our Caucasian neighbors.  Something I have learnt is that simply telling our loved ones to go out, go exercise, go make new friends, go take up a new course, does not work. If you care about your them, take the time to accompany them through the first step. Many of our members first visit to our club is accompanied by their friends or family members. Sometimes, all they need is just a little encouragement and support from us when we are trying to get them to try something new.
  • 28 Oct 2016 4:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spending time having fun and laughing makes the pain go away.





  • 28 Oct 2016 2:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did we know she had cancer? No. We found out only on Oct 13 when she was at A&E and the doctors told us. Did we guess? Yes. Cause she had been experiencing a rapid weight loss over the last few months. Maybe she knew something was wrong, but she didn't really want to get it checked, and we didn't insist either. Grandma has always had an active life, and fully independent. A few years back, she started using a walking stick, but she would still go about her daily activities on her own without help. She would go the near by market and kopitiam to meet her friends, do her hair and nails, every tuesday and thursday, she would volunteer at The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home in Changi, chatting with fellow elderly, exercising with them. I don't think she really knows what volunteer means, but she would start making friends with everyone from the staff to the more chatty elderly who where there with her, and she has a good buddy there, Lay Ha.  Grandma's current frailty and decline is difficult to see as a family member, but, its what I always envision it to be. She would be fit and healthy for as long as possible, the decline would be fast and she would go to sleep. I really wouldn't want her living in a nursing home for the next 10 years of her life. For Grandma, she valued being active, being amongst people and being independent. This was the quality of life she wanted, and she maintained it for as long as she could hold on. 

  • 27 Oct 2016 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Grandma has left most of the medical decisions for the family to decide. But, because she is still mentally sharp and aware, we have been keeping her involved in the major medical and care decisions. From the hospital, we had doctors and family sit with her to explain her condition and help her to understand what was going on, and now that we are in a nursing home, the pastoral care and social work team helped us to take the step further. Today, she was involved in her advanced care planning, sharing with us how she would like to be treated in the event she needed medical assistance, would she want CPR that may lead to an ICU stay, would she want to pass away without medical intervention? How would she like her funeral to be conducted? These are all difficult questions that will face all of us in an ageing population, but we have address them. In a way, grandma is lucky she can make those decisions and when the time comes, we can act according to her wishes. Essentially, she doesn't want pain, no tubes, no injections, no prolonging of her life if she is no longer able to do it herself. I am amazed by her strength as she addressed each of the questions posed in a calm manner, and at times, funny too. eg. Why would I want vegetarian food at the funeral, I don't really like that when I am alive. Or, actually, you guys can decide for me, I won't be around by then. Its just her trying to inject some humour into the situation, but thats her, always laughing, smiling. Having some fun with whatever card that life deals us. Humorously, she told the pastoral care team, would you like me to sign any documents?



  • 26 Oct 2016 2:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We can create fun moments at every corner. This is us at The Salvation Army Peacehaven Changi Nursing Home Thrift Shop. We tried on a pair of glasses and had an impromptu selfie. She laughed when she saw the pic. Absolute kodak moment. The shop opens six days a week. Do drop by to donate or purchase something to support them.


  • 13 Oct 2016 3:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Grandma is currently going through end of life care and I will use this blog to share her story and my experience as a primary caregiver. 

    Here is when it began. We noticed grandma's weight loss from a few months ago, and she started losing more and more weight. We knew something was up, we had a feeling it might be bad, but she didn't want to get it checked. Finally on that day, she told my aunty that her discharge in diapers had been more than normal and she agreed to visit a GP. But even so, she still went for her usual exercises for the day. The GP said she should go to A&E for further checks, we tried not to scare her, so she had some oats first before taking a taxi with Aunt and Mum to the hospital. At the A&E, the usual triage process happens and grandma went thru a whole barrage of checks before finally getting a bed at 2am. From 6pm, she was wheeled into the patient's only area where family was not allowed. Total wait time for 84 year old elderly lady = 9 hours. Doc did give us a quick update at 630pm and it confirmed that she did have a growth and its likely to be end stage cervical cancer and they found  large lump (5cm) and she would have to be warded. It wasn't a big surprise, we kinda knew.  I hope she would get a bed soon and she can undergo the care needed. But the wait continued and we waited outside. It's pretty much a waiting game at A&E. I decided to go bug the staff at 8pm and I managed to give her some dinner. From the caregiver's perspective, I felt at a loss waiting outside in the waiting area cause I was not allowed inside where grandma was kept at, yet I had no information given to me about what was going on with her. It was frustrating and worrying at the same time. I decided to play the sad puppy card and told the security guards about grandma and that i wanted to give her water, could they let me in, which they kindly did. (Grandma is frail so she would have been unable to get her own water or food). Finally at 11pm, I went to bug them again, and thats when they said they would message us on the phone when she got a bed. At this point, grandma had fallen asleep inside already. I understand the healthcare system and the A&E process, but as our population faces a rapidly ageing challenge, I think we need more sensitivity to the needs of the elderly when they are in the A&E. Eg. blankets, water, diaper changes, having the emergency bell available to them instead of hidden away in some corner, access to food if they are expected to wait longer. Healthcare teams focus on treatments, which is great, but sometimes we do need a little more empathy for the elderly patients because their needs are a little different to the average patient. 

  • 09 Sep 2016 9:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I came across this video that features the use of voice technology to engage elderly in Japan in a sumo wrestling match. This really looks interesting, and I see a lot of potential where rehabilitation can be made more fun and interactive for our elderly staying in the facilities.  

    Check out video link here


    Photo credit: https://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/casestudy/geriatric-health-services-facility-hitorizawa-ton-ton-voice-sumo-video-21387505/

    Keen to learn more? Drop me an email: janicechia@ageingasia.com

  • 09 Sep 2016 9:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Having fun cooking up a storm and eating too! Here is a sneak peak at the wonderful delights that our members have been cooking and sharing.


  • 09 Sep 2016 8:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)




  • 09 Aug 2016 1:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    We had a twin celebration of Norman's Graduation and National Day at ASPIRE55. Norman has just graduated from Nanyang Technological University and we are proud to be part of the celebrations for him. Thank you to all our members who contributed towards being part of our celebrations and especially to our members who displayed such wonderful cooking skills and a sharing spirit. 


     
  • 18 May 2015 1:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASPIRE55 is about intergenerational aspirational ageing – young and old supporting each other to age in our own homes.  Ageing impacts us at all ages. Whether we are 25, 45, or 65, we all have someone around us that is growing older. I have always looked forward to growing older, having the maturity to process experiences, appreciating life for what it gives us, contentment and having the financial security and luxury of time to do the things that mean the most to me.

    I believe each generation’s outlook towards quality of life and lifestyle is different. Our approach towards filial piety is changing as we head towards a world without borders and smaller family units. In the past, being filial means that you hire someone to look after your parents as they age, and to them, this was a much appreciated gesture and a sign that they are well loved by their children. However, a very wise Professor once told me, if you care too much for someone, you remove their ability to be independent. If you stop letting someone boil water for six months, they will forget how to boil water.

    The current generation of baby boomers (55 – 67 years old) and older adults are a more well educated, widely traveled and  fiercely independent group. They value their freedom, they are financially secure, and are health conscious. They view living with their children as a choice, and many have already chosen not to. Instead, the approach towards filial piety for this group is now transforming to “how we can make them happy”.

    Both “filial piety” and “laughter” is pronounced as “xiao” in mandarin. As our society evolves, so will our attitudes. One important question that we should ask ourselves is what can we do more to age in good health, with dignity and independence so that we can improve the quality of our life as we age. Happiness is more than the material things in life, its about having a sense of purpose and feeling emotionally fulfilled. The ageing population is not a challenge for our society, the bigger problem is social isolation and loneliness.

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