The Community Outreach Programme for the Elderly (COPE) aims at enhancing the physical, social and emotional well-being of elderly residents in the South East District, COPE empowers Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), volunteers and the community to engage active agers and provide social support to the needy or isolated elderly. This helps to promote active ageing amongst the seniors.
10 COPE Teams have been set up by 9 VWOs, with more than 900 volunteers serving nearly 4,600 elderly staying in 1 to 3-room HDB flats within the South East District. Each COPE team is structureActivities vary between the COPE Teams depending on the needs of the elderly. Activities include exercises, basic English and Chinese courses, karaoke, bingo, art & crafts, rummy-o, mental & physical wellness activities, lawn mat bowling, etc.
Besides the daily activities, the COPE Teams have formed 38 interest groups involving more than 850 elderly in regular activities and interaction. These interest groups are self-initiated and run by the elderly. This encourages the more independent and able elderly to play their part to organize the activities and reach out to the less able in the community. They also support the CDC’s efforts to engage the wider community. By promoting elderly activism and giving, they challenge misperceptions that the elderly are always on the receiving end of society.
COPE volunteers befriend the elderly, raise awareness on elder healthcare issues, assist in housekeeping, provide escort and meal services, run errands and organize outings for their elderly clients. They also conduct regular home visits to reach out to needy elderly who do not or may not be able to join the centre-based activities e.g. due to disability.
Besides funding, SE CDC organises quarterly COPE networking to strengthen linkages among COPE teams and link them with other elderly services providers.
Spending time with the elderly can be a fulfilling and enriching experience. The activities can also inculcate a sense of humility, empathy and service leadership, and build morale and self-esteem among employees.
SE CDC also engaged schools and corporations who are keen to provide their services i.e. befriending, outings, and house cleaning for the elderly.
2 SACs / Neighbourhood Links which are COPE partners:
Bethesda Care Services
House of Joy (City Harvest Community Services Association)
Neighbour Ring Community Services
Friends of Third Age (Presbyterian Community Services)
St Hilda’s Community Services
Sunlove Abode for Intellectually-Infirmed Ltd
Tung Ling Community Services