HOA: The Community-Based Intervention Programme
HOA - Health Oriented Ageing – programme is one of the 3 flagship programmes offered by O’Joy, with the aim of supporting and facilitating active ageing through community-based social activities and counselling.
HOA is targeted at those seniors who are currently well or at low risk of mental health issues, by engaging them with interesting and social activities. “Prevention is better than cure” is always advocated, especially amidst a burgeoning number of senior citizens (and a rising number who live alone) and the current inadequate infrastructure to cater to their long-term care.
THE APPROACH TO HOA
HOA is based on Virginia Satir’s Self Mandala framework. Satir is a renowned family therapist and trainer. Her Self Mandala framework speaks of 8 universal human resources, on which individuals depend on and draw strength from for health and wellness. Some key concepts include:
All human beings have ability to grow from an inner sense of strength, motive and reality
People need to connect with inner resources to validate their own self-worth
All humans have self-worth inside, differences lie in how they manifest it
HOA programme is thus designed with activities to uncover and tap into all 8 dimensions of personal resources to help the seniors focus on what they have, rather than what they have lost (youth, time, spouse, kids’ attention, physical ability, mental agility etc).
Through this, HOA aims to strengthen and empower the seniors with the self-belief and motivation to manage life issues and challenges, which in turn can reshape and improve their health.
The HOA programme is made up of scheduled activities structured into a run of 8 sessions, conducted by professional artist/therapist. Each session consists of 3 parts, firstly exercises, secondly artistic activity (movement, drama and visual arts) and finally peer sharing.
The crux of the programme is not just the activities but the social interaction, companionship and community support. With elderly suicide rates reported to be rising, O’Joy’s mission to “Bring Oceans of Joy” to the seniors is more important than ever as a form of community intervention.
“Among more than 70,000 women followed for almost 20 years, those who were the most socially connected were about 75 percent less likely than the least-connected to die by suicide.” Dr. Alexander Tsai, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
O'JOY HOA OUTREACH EVENT
Held last December 2015, the outreach event was held to introduce HOA to more senior citizens living in the Upper Boon Keng community as well as showcase the activities held.
The elderly folks enjoyed themselves with a variety of activities, including:
One of the invited guests commented that "I have never expected to see elderly folks so happy." This reflects what is commonly expected of elderly focused programmes. Media reports of the elderly poor and destitute often portray them receiving aid in gloomy circumstances and somber mood.
O'Joy seeks to buck the trend and rather than highlighting how we should help our elderly to reduce their misery, the other, more positive perspective is how we should help our elderly to increase joy in their silver years.