Hybrid Approach in the New Normal
Keeping Seniors Active & Engaged
By Soh Zu Xian
Cornerstone Senior Centre has been in operation for over 3 years, where our seniors and volunteers hang out at the centre daily. Before COVID-19, there were no restrictions. Seniors participated in outings, had their breakfast and chit chat sessions at the centre, and volunteers could easily visit and interact with them.
In 2020, things changed with the emergence of COVID-19. The centre took on a new approach to engage the seniors through CSC Live on YouTube. During that time, we learnt it was important to have hybrid engagements where we adjusted and modified physical on-site engagements to adhere to the safe-distancing measures, and ran programmes online to engage the seniors.
Face to face interaction is always the preferred way of engagement as we must not lose the physical touch points with the seniors. However, COVID-19 has changed the way we do things, and we have to be flexible and adaptable enough to embrace technology and innovative ways to meet the needs of the seniors.
In 2021, restrictions started to ease up slightly and we could organise physical activities such as outdoor exercises, indoor board games, cooking demonstrations and outings to places like Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Flyer with the required safe management measures in place.
We also formed new partnership with SG Cares Volunteer Centre @Ang Mo Kio, and got connected to many schools, youths and volunteers to conduct zoom sessions with the seniors. Volunteers from Cornerstone Community Church have also helped to organise many fun and fruitful zoom events and activities to engage with the seniors.
It was heart-warming to see the seniors chatting over zoom after not seeing one another for a long time. Seniors shared that the zoom sessions were fun and enjoyable. Even though physical activities have slowly resumed back at the centre, we recognise the need to continue our online engagements with the seniors who are not able to visit the centre.
In the new normal, our hybrid approach of having both onsite and online engagements are important to reach out to more seniors and continue to keep them active and connected.