Senior Occupational Therapist Elisa Arumugam spent a fruitful Saturday morning educating residents about fall prevention at a wellness carnival.
As an occupational therapist working within the hospital’s acute setting, I seldom get to see clients outside of the wards, or in the community. So when I learnt that VWO Montfort Care was going to organise a wellness carnival in Telok Blangah, I rallied the department. We would kill two birds with one stone – give back to the community, and bond with each other.
That was how we found ourselves in Telok Blangah Crescent on a Saturday morning in October, promoting healthy ageing among residents.
Everywhere I looked, the carnival was buzzing with energy. There were different booths supported by fellow occupational therapists, pharmacy students, medical social workers and other volunteers. My department took care of the booths on health screening, fall risk screening, and fall prevention education.
It was fun to work with one another outside of the hospital environment. Some of my colleagues had enough acting chops to attract residents having their breakfast at the nearby hawker centre. I was very impressed!
Talented OTs put up a skit to educate the elders on falls.
I took up position at the fall prevention education booth. My job was to talk to residents who were identified as having a “high risk of falling” at the screening booth.
My first “customer” was an elderly gentleman who was on his way to breakfast when he was ushered to our booth. The team who screened him picked up that he was not steady when walking and his vision was poor. My partner and I asked about his daily routine and if he had fallen before. We taught him simple exercises, and shared with him easy home modifications and changes to his routine he can consider to make going out of the house safer.
Elisa (right) demonstrate to an elderly couple simple (but impactful) exercises to do at home.
His wife was also identified as having a ‘high risk of falling’. She told us she was hard of hearing, so he was her hearing aid, while she was his walking stick. I was really touched to see their support for each other. We did some simple exercises together, and wished them the best as they went on to have their breakfast.
Another elderly lady came to the booth, and after asking her about her routine, we realised all she wanted to know was the number to call if she fell. We wrote down 995, she thanked us and left.
Although I only had a short time to talk to each resident who came to my booth, they were all a source of many wonderful memories and valuable lessons.
To be able to share with others about the work we do, help others with the skills and training that we have had and do our little part in making the community a better place for all to live in – that, to me, is what celebrating a professional day should be all about.
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