Clinical Community Project: “Aging Gracefully: Gerontourism For Elderly Well Being”

Puncak Alam, 21th May 2024 – Final year e-PJJ student of UiTM Puncak Alam had represented the the Center of Occupational Therapy (Faculty of Health Sciences) to collaborate with Rehabilitation Unit Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah Hulu Langat in organizing a delightful yet advantageous program targeting elderly individuals from Kelab Warga Emas, Klinik Kesihatan Batu 14 Hulu Langat. This program was aimed to implement ‘gerontourism’ as a method to promote elderly well-being by focusing on the potential therapeutic benefits of engaging with various environments and activities according to their needs.

The program was led by five e-PJJ students cum occupational therapist from Klinik Kesihatan Batu 14 Hulu Langat, Hospital UiTM Puncak Alam, Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya, Klinik Kesihatan Merchang Terengganu and freelance occupational therapist, with assistance from the other five occupational therapists from Hulu Langat district.

On that day, there were 40 participants who joined the program. The program was organized following concept of tourism, where the participants and organizing committees travelled from one place to another, with various activities/intervention implementation. The organizing committees had chosen few venues which located in proximity to each other, which were Taman Saujana Hijau, Cruise Tasik Putrajaya, Masjid Putra and Farm Fresh MAEPS Serdang. Few activities were carried out along with the treatment methods used in occupational therapy, include physical activity to enhance physical fitness, art therapy to improve cognitive processing, cognitive stimulation therapy, leisure intervention integrated with music-based intervention and animal-assisted therapy to promote psychological well-being and self-expression.

The program was started by a short briefing from the director of the program. The participants were needed to gather at the front yard of Taman Saujana Hijau, Putrajaya by 9 a.m. for registration and briefing. The fine morning was begun with physical activities which were brisk walk and aerobic. This activity was conducted by Mrs. Fadhilah. Mrs. Fadhilah conducted aerobic for 20 minutes before proceeded to brisk walk. Mrs. Fadilah had set a distance of around 800 metres for brisk walk. During the activity, the participants actively involved in the activity where they regularly showed up and gave their full participation.  The program agenda was continued with Art Therapy conducted by Mrs. Nadia. In this session, the participants’ creativity and cognitive skills were challenged with a task of creating 3-D figures using the air clay. All of the participants were able to show up their creativity while well explaining their handiworks.

At around 11.45 a.m., the participants were needed to move to the other destination, which was Cruise Tasik Putrajaya for the next activities. We only 15 minutes of journey to the place. For this part, leisure with integration of music-based intervention was conducted. This activity was led by Mrs. Liyana. The activity implemented includes group singing and sightseeing. In this activity, therapist include the element of cognition, where the participants were challenged in their cognitive skills especially in attention. The participants needed to be alert to the cues by the therapist, when it comes to their group turns to sing. The participants established great teamwork in accomplishing the task. Each of them lent a hand in ensuring successfulness of their groups to meet the task demands.

We took break about one hour before proceeding to cognitive stimulation therapy, led by Ms. Syafiqah. Ms. Syafiqah had chosen “Song Guessing” and “Famous Face Game” as the method of treatment. This could challenge participants’ memory, mainly for long-term and working memory. The participants were all being competitive in this activity and some of them strive to become the earliest person to respond. The last intervention was animal-assisted therapy, conducted by Mrs. Syakina.

This activity was conducted at Farm Fresh MAEPS Serdang, where the participants were required to gather there by 2 p.m. In this activity, participants engaged in feeding, grooming, and walking the animals, which were not only enjoyable but also instrumental in enhancing their emotional well-being.

It was somehow a tiring day for both participants and organizing committees. However, we were all had a whale of a time and this could be the great opportunity for the organizing committees to further develop our abilities in effectively run the other programs in future. The participants also expressed their joy and gratitude that they could be able to participate in such program. We look for another opportunities for program collaboration in future, while promoting our profession and services to the society.