Thursday, June 24, 2010

Here are the four key recommendations of the report.

1)Housing for Seniors: It refers to keeping Singapore an elderly friendly place, where the elderly are part of the family. To fit the needs of the elderly, there will be many choices of housing for them and good support care services.

2)Accessibility for Seniors: As Singapore strives to be and elderly friendly place, the housing estates would be more elderly friendly and so would the transport system and the environment outside. The transport system will be more user friendly, and travel passages would be more elderly friendly as well, through the use of more accessible lifts and more.

3)Caring for Seniors: There will be eldercare and healthcare services that fit the different needs of the elderly. These services are easily accessible, affordable as well as efficient.

4)Opportunities for Seniors: Singapore aims to have the elderly lead healthy and active lives, they want the elderly to maintain good relationships with the rest of their family and friends. They also want the elderly to be actively involved in their community.

Here is one way the CAI report is recommending to make our public housing more user friendly.
-The Government should consider introducing guidelines for the provision of accessibility and safety features in the homes for seniors, through a review of the Code on Barrier-Free Accessibility, to create a more elderly friendly environment, such as installing bright lighting to help the elderly with eyesight problems see better.

Here are two ways on how we can ensure that the quality of elderly care here in Singapore is affordable.
1)Special prices for elderly care equipment for the elderly, the government can allocate some of their money on the equipment such as walking aids.
2)Special subsidies for the elderly can be used when hiring caregivers, the older the person, the more the subsidy.

Here are the three things that I can do, as an SST student, to help overcome these elderly challenges.
1) I can accompany the elderly,especially our own grandparents, and give them the love and support they need.
2) SST students can help raise funds to aid the elderly, as a school activity like other school.
3) Be an active helper when it comes to aiding the elderly.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 4

This week, I am going to do a conclusion on the elderly problems, I will give a general view on the elderly. As my grandparent is in Hong Kong, I would not be able to use his input so the information i will use would be from the web. I will be going into further detail into one of the previous problems I did.
One problem I have alliterated before is climbing stairs. Most elderly have problems climbing stairs, according to the aging parents society, 30 percent of people over 65 and 50 percent of people over 80 will tend to fall once in the next year, and this sometimes caused by the danger of stairs.
-As some elderly have eyesight problems, sometimes the cause of falls is because of eyesight. To counter that, staircases should be well lit, this will help reduce the chances of falling.
-The elderly themselves, must not rush up or down the stairs just to do small things such as take a phone call , its not worth it to fall and hurt themselves over a phone call. The elderly should always take their time when climbing stairs.
-Hand railings must be of adequate height and size so that the elderly can have a nice firm grip which will help reduce the likelihood of falling down the stairs. According to the aging parents society, it should be 36 to 39 inch tall. Seniors over 60 should get a habit of grabbing the railing.
-One way to help reduce the chances is helping the elderly in shape to climb stairs more easily. Exercises such as walking and leg stretching would prove useful.
-Seniors might have problems that inhibit them from climbing the stairs, such as inner ear infections which will affect their balance. Thus, it is best if they are checked.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 3

This week, I am going to narrow down the problems to those the elderly wheelchair users face. There are certain disadvantages the wheelchair users have that normal people take for granted, this also applies to those who use walking aids too as their injuries do not completely hinder them from walking like those who are wheelchair bound. Like the previous post I will be listing five problems and five solutions to match it, one problem and solution will be listed into three topics: Knee and leg pains(the main topic), Blurred eyesight and Weak hand and arms
Knee and leg pains
- A problem that most wheel chair bound people is that they will find it hard to move up steps as they are riding on wheels and they would have to lift their body weight and the wheelchair's weight in order for them to tilt the chair to move up just one step. If it is comparatively hard to move up just one step, it would be near impossible to go up one flight of stairs without assistance.
- The problem has been solved by a company, they made a product called the IBOT 4000. It has been approved by the FDA(the Food and Drug Administration). It is able to go up or down a flight of stairs whether with assistance or not. There are two sets of drive wheels that rotate up and over each other and help the user go up the stairs. It is an automatic wheelchair in a sense that it is controlled using robotics and not through pushing the wheels like those of a conventional wheelchair.

Blurred eyesight
-One problem that most wheelchair bound and partially blind people face is that they will find it hard to navigate, as a stick could not be used to sense what is around them when both hands are occupied rolling the chair, thus coupling both wheelchair and blindness is a bad combination.
-There are not that many solutions to this but the most obvious one would be having a helper to help guide the handicapped person around and have that person navigate the handicapped person around. This may not be the best solution as it will give the handicapped person a feeling that he or she has to depend on others to get by.
Weak hand and arms
-Another problem is that wheel chair bound people have a certain restriction on how high the person can reach. The limit is much lower than that of a normal person as the wheelchair bound people have to sit all the time.
-This problem can also be solved by the IBOT 400 as well. As mentioned before, the IBOT 400 has four wheels. It can change into a mode where two wheels are used to support the whole wheel chair while the other two are lifted so that the user can reach things that are higher than they can reach on conventional wheel chairs.

By Turning Point Productions. Title: Think! A wheelchair user's daily struggle

video url:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 2

The elderly face many difficulties and problems in their daily life that most people don't take note of. In my house, I notice that the elderly face a few problems. Since my grandparent is in Hong Kong, I would use some input that came from my neighbour and his grandmother.
These are some of the problems faced by the elderly that I have noticed. I have categorized the problems according to the disadvantages that elderly normally have and introduce one problem and a solution each, such as knee and leg pain, blurred eyesight, weak hands and arms, bad hearing, and teeth problems.
Knee and leg pains
- As mentioned in the previous post, walking is one of the main problems for this area even with use of walking aids. Another problem I would want to address is falling especially on hard surfaces. This would be really painful for us when we have the same injuries, and for the elderly even worse. It may be a little unwise to suggest a soft surface like sand or something like that on every surface, so how can we tackle this problem?
-I have an idea for the solution but it is not perfect but it is all in the thinking process. Elderly who have injured legs would normally have a walking aid perhaps like the one seen below. So since it is slightly bigger than a walking stick, it is possible to add some padding of some sort to cushion the fall.

Blurred eyesight
-For this category, one problem is that, due to the blurred eyesight, it is hard to see certain signs in shopping malls, mostly signs that tell you the direction to go to a certain place. These would affect the navigation for the elderly.
-This problem can be solved by having brighter colours and bigger signs so that those with blurred eyesight would be able to see the signs more clearly.
Weak hand and arms
- One problem is hanging laundry with the hangars on the poles for clothes hanging,(as seen in the picture, it shows the poles for hanging the clothes). The poles are stuck to the ceiling and thus using another pole to hang the clothes will be troublesome for the elderly as it will be straining to hang the clothes especially if the hands and arms are rather weak.

-The solution to counter the problem is using a clothes rack like the one shown in the picture below. As you can see in the picture, it is not placed in the ceiling like the ones in the problem is. As the main root of the problem is gravity, this solution eliminates the root as it is place on the ground so that laundry can be hung with ease. To make things easier, it is much more flexible than the one with the poles as it can be moved to various places.

Bad hearing
-A problem for bad hearing is an obvious one. When there is danger, even when someone is shouting the elderly with hearing problems would have a hard time hearing.
-The solution is also quite obvious. Hearing aids can be used to help the elderly to hear, perhaps the government could make hearing aids more affordable.
Teeth problems
-As the teeth is not functioning properly, some of the elderly cannot eat harder food and must resolve to softer food.
-The elderly could ask the person cooking the food to cook a little longer so that the food is easier to chew.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Elderly Challenge - Observation 1

I have observed that the elderly with walking aids have problems such as climbing the stairs, which we do very easily. As the elderly is climbing the stairs with the walking aid, they have to take note of certain concepts, which are very hard to grasp unless given the patience. For example, given that the elderly has one bad leg, the concept up with the good and down with the bad. What the phrase means is that while walking with a walking aid, the good leg must be lifted and put forward first, then lifting the walking aid and putting all the pressure in the walking aid. As all the pressure is put on the aid, the elderly has to lift their bad leg.

In the photo, you can see that my friend Ilya has tried to walk a mile in their shoes, through simulation. He is having a lot of difficulty just walking with the walking aid and imagine doing this everyday.

We had to try walking with the walking aid ourselves, and it was no easy feat. To simulate the bad leg, we had to put a plastic bottle under our feet and must not put pressure to that leg at all, if the plastic bottle cracks one bit, we would be hurting our imaginary bad leg. Climbing the stairs will make this feat a whole lot harder.

In this photo, my grandpa can be seen playing air hockey, facing all the challenges an 80 year old man faces, he is still able to win the match with one hand in his pocket. Hopefully in the future, I want to be just as healthy as him. I hope that by identifying the problems and coming with suitable solutions, I can make life better for my grandpa.