On 16 November 2019, peaceful Saturday morning, Occupational Therapy Students (OTHENS) in collaboration with Masjid Abdullah Fahim, Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Seberang Perai Utara, Occupational Therapy Unit from Hospital Kepala Batas, and Occupational Therapy unit Klinik Sg Dua organized a half a day community education program focusing on promoting independence in daily life post-injury.
The program title is Optimize Ability aims to educate people across the age range about services available to assist people in needs returning to function and re-engaged in daily activities. However, health and wellness not interrupted just by physical injury, other aspects such as mental health, family relationship, community involvement, and caregiver burden are important factors as well.
OTHENS commenced their journey to organize this event since June 2019, via discussion and brainstorm at the program level with lecturers about the concept and potential agencies for collaboration. Students are enthusiastic about creating an opportunity for their own learning as well as to benefits nearby communities from knowledge and skills available on campus, this effort directly improvises teaching and learning experience for students and lecturers.
The program was officiated by Associate Prof. Ts Dr. Mohd Rozaiman Aziz a Deputy Rector of Students Affairs, witnessed by Dr. Siti Nur Fadzillah Muhsain, Assistant Rector, UiTMPP, Bertam Campus and En Amir Heberd Abdullah Head for Health Sciences Centre of studies. Guests arrive from different areas of Seberang Perai Utara, and Sungai Petani arrived as early as 8.00 am and stay throughout the event until 12.00 noon.
Many cheerful and active retiree shares opinion on living with pain, general weakness and some non-infectious diseases such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Arthritis and Congestive Heart Diseases with students and lecturers. Such fruitful exchanged of information between students and the elderly who are from Pusat Aktiviti Warga Emas and Darul Hanan Homecare mostly, affirms students’ understanding of the importance of engagement with the community by health professionals to help deliver information and hands-on training with people that needed most.
Difficulty to access facilities is among theme shared by the elderly.
Devices exhibited on the day by Occupational therapists from Hospital Kepala Batas and Klinik Kesihatan Sg Dua are aids for wearing sock, shoes, button, plate guard to prevent spilling of food while feeding, and special curve cutlery for people with limitation of movement.
Cognitive screening for elderly, advises on the safety aspect of mobility with wheelchair including advantages and disadvantages between manual standard wheelchair and lightweight folding wheelchair in the exhibition hall was explained by occupational therapy students part 5 accompanied by clinical instructor and lecturer. There were 10 posters about devices for self-care such as shower, personal grooming, dressing and techniques to minimize the risk of falls, respect and manage pain, and manage stress or boredom for 10 different ailments are explained by part 3 students.
Other than the strategies of healthy lifestyles for adults and the elderly, there are many fun games created by part 1 students. Children from nearby houses and twenty children from Rumah Inapan Kasih Sayang, surely enjoy 10 different sensory-motor games. The games have specific purposes but in general, the games were to promote and encourage children’s participation in play.
Children learn the best via fun, yet tolerable challenges. The students apply knowledge about the developmental stages of human growth and establish rules of the game according to children’s capability. The specific purposes such as to maximize motor planning, eye-hand, and eye-foot coordination, auditory perception, visual perception, fine motor skills, body awareness, and tactile perception games. All children were rewarded by stickers and small token made by students upon completion of each game. Body awareness aerobic choreography by students was the first event of the morning.
Officers from the Social and Welfare department, Seberang Perai Utara shared important facts about poverty, abuse, and other social ailments in society. The officers gave advice on how members of society can help each other to create a peaceful community. Procedure and contact numbers of authority were given in the leaflet.
This first-time event focus mainly to educate the community in Kepala Batas about available services within. On an eventful day, students of occupational Therapy had an opportunity to understand that enabling participation of people with injury in meaningful activities requires many services and need a great amount of liaison with other agencies nearby. We hope this event is beneficial to guests.