ELDERLY residents in Nee Soon South will have to look no further than the void deck of one of the housing blocks in their neighbourhood for health advice, with the opening of a People’s Association wellness centre yesterday. It will be reliable advice too, as retired nurses will be on duty at the centre two days a week, thanks to a pioneering tie-up with the nearby Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).
Wellness For Life @ Nee Soon South, as the centre has been named, is in Block 839, Yishun Street 81. Open from 9am to 8pm daily, including weekends, it will reach out to an estimated 14,000 residents aged 50 and up, to urge them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Besides having former nurses on duty to advise residents on, for example, how to manage their diabetes, the centre sets itself apart from other wellness centres with the following features:
A do-it-yourself health check corner, where an individual can get his blood pressure reading, pulse rate, height and weight;
Healthy-recipe cooking classes conducted at KTPH; and
Health-care education programmes such as community cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes.
Ms Lee Bee Wah, adviser to Nee Soon South and MP for Nee Soon GRC, said: “We don’t want people to wait until they are sick to go to the hospital. We want them to age gracefully.” She added that the centre will push the keep-fit message with its facilities such as the gym, so people will be able to stave off mobility problems as well as age- and obesity-related health issues. As with other wellness centres, exercise programmes will be run at Wellness For Life @ Nee Soon South.
Ms Lee said the partnership with the hospital came about from her meeting with KTPH director of operations Ng Kian Swan, whom she roped into the project as head of the active ageing committee. One resident who says she will drop by the centre is entrepreneur Mary Lim, 58, who has lived in Nee Soon for 30 years. She said: “The place is especially beneficial for old folk who are not working. Otherwise, there’s no one with them during the day.”
But a teacher who wanted to be known only as Mrs Siau said the centre was “unnecessary”; she had in mind her elderly mother-in-law, who has difficulty walking, and said improving access around the neighbourhood was more crucial. A lift servicing an overhead bridge leading to Khatib MRT station, for example, was approved only earlier this year, four years after Ms Lee raised the issue. Building works begin next year.