St Joseph’s Home residents using the custom-made merry-go-round with children.

By Jared Ng

An intergenerational playground and infant and childcare centre were launched at St Joseph’s Home on Aug 28.

The aim of the playground and centre, located within the vicinity of the eldercare facility, is to encourage interaction between children and the elderly and promote a sense of inclusiveness.

“Having an infant and childcare centre within the home reminds us of the purpose of life and the importance of play and simplicity – two things that are often forgotten in the frenzy of our day-to-day,” said Canossian Sr Geraldine Tan, executive director of St Joseph’s Home.

“Such a model of care … is also where everyone can find a place to co-exist – the young, the older, the dying and the sick. We learn to embrace one another and live in harmony,” she added.

The playground, believed to be the first to be built within a nursing home in Singapore, includes features such as a see-saw with ramp access for elderly residents who use wheelchairs. It also has a merry-go-round built with seats for children as well as wheel-lock features for wheelchairs.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, was the guest-of-honour at the launch.

She was joined by Mr Desmond Kuek, president and group CEO of SMRT; Mr Thomas Tan, Catholic Welfare Services chairman; St Joseph’s Home staff and volunteers.

A child prepares to go down a slide as an elderly resident looks on.

Mr Tan, in his address, said the playground and childcare centre were a “new narrative in holistic care.”

He thanked SMRT for its support in pledging $100,000 to fund the development of the playground as part of its Gift of Mobility initiative.

Dr Khor highlighted in her address the importance of “caring for seniors” and to ensure they live with dignity.

She recalled something that Sr Geraldine had said in the past: “Seniors must not be hidden, but must be embraced by all.”

She added that the location of the infant and childcare facilities “provides ample opportunities for creative programmes and curriculum design to better engage our nursing home residents.”

According to St Joseph’s Home, such programmes include arts and crafts, music sessions as well as a “fun house” where they can engage in other activities such as painting.

The intergenerational curriculum will also see children from the centre visit some of the elderly residents to interact and bond.

Trying their hand at a fishing game in the childcare centre. From left: Dr Amy Khor, Canossian Sr Geraldine Tan, Mr Desmond Kuek (SMRT) and Mr Thomas Tan (Catholic Welfare Services).

After her address, Dr Khor and the other invited guests were joined on stage by children and some elderly residents to take part in a bubble-blowing ceremony to officially open the playground and childcare centre.

The guests were then given a tour of the playground to try out some of its unique features as well as the childcare centre.

Dr Khor, Mr Kuek, Mr Tan and other invited guests were seen chatting with many of the residents during the tour.

The infant and childcare centre opened on Aug 1 and can take up to 56 children and infants.

The redeveloped St Joseph’s Home was blessed on May 16 and currently has about 130 elderly residents. 

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