March 25, 2017

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Good Shepherd Loft Nursing Home

by Najeer Yusof 

IT’S been a year since Saint Bernadette Lifestyle Village began operations, and the elderly folks are there to celebrate by having a Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner with a nine-course meal.

St Bernadette is one of Singapore’s few assisted living facilities where the eight residents, who are all above 70 years old, lease private bedrooms over a six-month period. Residents retain their independence and are mostly able to perform basic chores, such as feed and dress themselves. A nurse is available to care for the residents 24/7.

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Here’s how the residents at St Bernadette spend their time there:

 

MORNING WORKOUT: Every morning, the elderly residents from Saint Bernadette Lifestyle Village gather at the common room at Good Shepherd Loft (GSL) to do their morning exercise with the elderly from GSL. The workout is led by one of the nurses and the exercises are focused on strength training and motor skills. In the evenings, they have a physiotherapy session too.
MORNING WORKOUT: Every morning, the elderly from St Bernadette Lifestyle Village join the residents at the neighbouring Good Shepherd Loft Nursing Home (GSL) for their morning exercise at GSL’s common room. The workout, led by one of the nurses, is focused on strength training and motor skills. There is a physiotherapy session in the evenings too.

 

 

PERSONALISED CRIB: A nurse cleaning the room of one of the elderly residents. All the rooms come with a hospital bed, a television and a set of drawers. The elderly are encouraged to personalise their own rooms. Most of the elderly have pictures of their family and other decorative items such as flowers in their rooms.
PERSONAL CRIB: A nurse cleans the room of one of St Bernadette’s residents, Madam Lisa Lai, 85. All rooms come with a hospital bed, a television, a set of drawers, and an attached toilet. Residents are encouraged to personalise their own rooms and most of the residents, like Madam Lai, have pictures of their family and other decorative items such as flowers.

 

SHARED SPACE: The common room where the elderly residents gather for meals and activities such as watching tv. They also do engage in spontaneous activities such as dancing or even cooking.
SHARED SPACE: At the centre of all the bedrooms is the common room, where the residents have their meals together and engage in other activities. This is where some of the residents broke out in a spontaneous dance session just last week at the suggestion of one of them. A pantry at one side of the common room stores snacks and hot beverages such as milo and tea. To keep the residents active, nurses encourage them to join in exercises and do arts and craft. Seniors also go on frequent outings, such as durian trips to Batu Pahat, Malaysia.

 

BEAUTY QUEEN: The beauty care products of Mdm Joy Low, 94, one of the elderly residents of St Bernadette Lifestyle Village. "I have been collecting make up products since I was young. Before I had lipsticks, I used red Chinese paper to colour my lips," she said. She also added: "I used to be very vain."
VANITY FAIR: Madam Joy Lo, 94, keeps a ready supply of beauty care products neatly arranged in her medicinal cabinet. Her collection includes toner, moisturiser, perfume and lipstick, which she proudly showed us. Her favourite brands: Elizabeth Arden and Estée Lauder. “I have been collecting makeup products since I was young. Before I had lipsticks, I used red Chinese paper to colour my lips,” she said. She added: “I used to be very vain.”

 

PONG!:The elderly residents playing mahjong in the living room. They usually play every evening. Instead of using real money they use chips.
PONG!: Residents gather around for their favourite afternoon activity daily: mahjong, where they use chips instead of actual money. In St Bernadette’s small community, mahjong is a popular activity among residents, including Madam Petronilla Gonzales (upper left corner), 92, who used to be a dental nurse. Madam Lo said that mahjong helps to keep them “mentally alert”.

 

DAY TO DAY: The notice board detailing the daily activity schedule, instructions and reminders for the nurses at the facility. The nurses are tasked with cooking, cleaning and tending to the needs of the elderly, such as administering medication.
DAY TO DAY: The notice board in the common room details the residents’ daily activity schedule, and has instructions and reminders for nurses at the facility. Nurses are tasked with cooking, cleaning and tending to the needs of the elderly, such as administering medication. One nurse is always present at any time in the home. “The staff is more than a nurse,” said Dr Belinda Wee, co-founder of St Bernadette.

 

HUAT AH: The elderly residents of St Bernadette tossing the lo hei during the Chinese New Year dinner as Dr Joseph Lee, the founder of St Bernadette, joins them. This was the first time that both GSL and St Bernadette held a reunion dinner jointly for the elderly residents.
HUAT AH: The residents of St Bernadette tossing lo hei during the Chinese New Year dinner as Dr Joseph Lee, the co-founder of St Bernadette, joins them. A makeshift shelter was placed in the driveway between GSL and St Bernadette and the party was underway by 5:30pm. This was the first time that both GSL and St Bernadette held a joint reunion dinner for their residents. Residents enjoyed performances from external groups such as Ukelele group, Ukewaves, from Siglap Community Centre.

 

Additional reporting by Wan Ting Koh. 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

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