|Evergreen College: Boost Your Confidence in Daily Living
Since the commencement of Evergreen College in our Balcatta centre, more than 60 clients have enrolled themselves to different interest classes ranging from computer, English, dancing, Tai Chi, cooking to memory support.
“No homework, no exam and no comparison” is the characteristic of our Evergreen College. On top of this, the college recognised that it is never too late to learn and no question is too simple to be answered. Bearing this understanding in mind, all the instructors (volunteers) have tried their best to design the course content as much practical and interesting as possible.
Just take two classes as examples. Computer class will not teach you how to Photoshop a picture to perfect but will make sure you know how to set up your own email account which can enable you to contact our services after office hours. English class will not focus on how to write a perfect essay but will teach you again and again how to dial an emergency number, how to book an appointment with your doctor and how to find your medicine at your local pharmacy.
We are familiar with the theory that kids who receive positive feedback for their performance can probably explore more of their potentials as they are more confident and motivated in self betterment. In fact, this principle applies to everyone’s learning experience. Therefore, our Evergreen College is and will always aim at delivering courses and creating atmosphere which help to boost seniors’ confidence in their daily living as this is the first step of their journey towards independence.
One of the instructor’s once commented that “I can see the excitement in their eyes (after they sending emails to each other)”. We believe that we will witness more and more beauties of confidence from our seniors’ eyes, their faces and their hearts.
Filial Piety – to be or not to be?
Asians have always been traditional and hold on strongly to their cultural beliefs even in distant lands. Filial piety has always been top of the list. We believe in doing everything for our elders as a way of showing our love, care and respect. We work very hard and work very well to look after our elders to make them feel loved and important. Our elders also felt that after all their years of toiling, it is time to sit back and let the younger generation repay some of their ‘debts’. This ‘giving’ from the younger generation to the ‘receiving’ by the older generation has worked very well in the past. Now it is time to relook at the true essence and meaning of filial piety. The old way would see our elders’ daily needs taken care of by others and living a comfortable life without realising that it is contributing slowly towards losing their life skills capacities and their independence; whereas, by actively helping them through encouragements and practise to retain and prolong their life skills, we can prolong their independence which in turn provides them with a better quality of life.
Exploring Wellness – a journey without end
How do we bring the message across to the younger generation and our seniors that their cultural beliefs and expectations of filial piety are actually bringing harm to our elders and hastening their need for dependency and other services?
Our organisation needs to embark on a ‘Journey to Wellness’. We need to involve everybody within our organisation from top down to all our clients. We need to ensure that the concept of wellness was completely understood and accepted. We need to be walking as one in the same direction. We need to change our thinking across the board and inculcate it into all services. As can be expected, we face many difficulties. Clients and their families found it hard to accept the changes and also felt their needs were not being met. Support workers, too, had difficulties realigning their long held beliefs and initial resistance can be expected.
Evergreen College – refreshing the 5 Elements of Education
Through the ages, Asians, in particular, the Chinese, have sought to attain ‘self-betterment’. This ‘self-betterment’ consists of 5 elements, namely, Character, Intellectual, Physical, Social and Aesthetic. To us, the concept of filial piety and the 5 elements of education go hand in hand. Here, at Chung Wah Community & Aged Care (CAC), we are combining these elements together with the Chinese value of ‘self-betterment’ by starting the ‘Chung Wah CAC Evergreen College’. We aim to conduct courses with these 5 elements as themes to improve the functioning capacities of our seniors and help them attain ‘self-betterment’ and thus, achieve a better quality of life.
Surveys will be conducted amongst our existing clients to identify and gauge their areas of need and interest. In the near future, Chung Wah CAC’s wellness team will hope to be able to collaborate with other mainstream professional bodies to design and enrich our programs, with the 5 elements of education as themes that are culturally appropriate and easily understood. Training will be conducted for staff, support workers and volunteers who will be involved in the running of this college.