Acting Chief Executive Officer
Methodist Welfare Services
Acting Chief Executive Officer Methodist Welfare Services
It has been about a year since COVID-19 restrictions gradually eased. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is how people are connected on so many levels, and how our actions and decisions often have ripple impact on others.
In the community where we serve, human connections are core to improving overall health and social well-being. As we emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, we are immensely thankful for how we have been able to deepen connections on so many fronts and continue serving the people we care for.
A key trajectory in our work in FY2022/23 has been to connect our spectrum of services upstream to offer more preventive care.
In July 2022, we introduced a new Strengthening Families Programme@Family Service Centre (MWS FAM@ FSC) initiative led by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. MWS FAM@FSC offers family counselling as well as marriage and divorce support for couples and families facing challenges. This comes on the back of rising divorce rates in Singapore, driven in part by the pandemic which aggravated familial relationships that were already strained.
On the healthcare front, extending our services upstream saw us onboarding 3 more Senior Activity Centres to become Active Ageing Centres in April 2022. This move is in line with the Ministry of Health’s nationwide Healthier SG initiative that encourages individuals to take proactive steps to prevent the onset of chronic diseases by adopting healthier mindsets and lifestyles. Applying a strengths-based approach towards eldercare, we aim to empower more seniors through active ageing programmes and stronger social connections so that more seniors may live a fuller life in the familiarity of their community.
To that end, our Allied Health team has been connecting across the different MWS Centres involved in eldercare to help seniors at different stages of frailty optimise their health or maximise functional recovery. The team’s geriatric care approach is evidence-based and empowering. A key initiative in FY2022/23 was the Adaptive Sports programme which offers a range of modified sporting activities that enable seniors of differing physical abilities to participate. 81-year-old Mr Chew Teck Khim is a member of MWS Active Ageing Centre – GreenTops@Sims Place*. Withdrawn and shy initially, he had relied on a wheelchair to move about. After participating in Adaptive Sports for 7 months, he regained his ability to walk independently without assistance. His regained mobility has been a huge boost to his confidence and sociability. What a wonderful testimony!
FY2022/23 also saw MWS Senior Care Centre – Eunos (ESCC), which provides day care and rehabilitation services for frail seniors, successfully complete its first full year of operations. To support the growing need for dementia care, the premises are designed to be dementia-friendly, with the majority of the day care slots allocated to seniors with dementia. We hope such support will empower more seniors to lead purposeful and dignified lives in the community. Meanwhile, our MWS FAM@FSC team has also been exploring ways to better support caregivers of dementia clients whom we serve at MWS ESCC. This exemplifies MWS’ multi-disciplinary approach that aims to link professional services across our Centres and to provide comprehensive and seamless services to our beneficiaries.
I am pleased to share that our efforts to foster deeper connections took a fresh perspective as we soft launched the Research, Innovation & Training Academy (RITA) in January 2023. Through RITA, we hope to leverage our experience in both the social service and healthcare sectors by uncovering data-driven insights that will inform clinical practice, improve service delivery and enable MWS to become a community of best practice.
The shortage of manpower in the intermediate and long-term care sector continues to be one of the biggest challenges faced at our Nursing Homes and Welfare Home. To alleviate the issue, we have invested in technology to mitigate manpower constraints, increase productivity and enhance operational capability. It was great joy to witness our animated residents so happy and fully engaged in immersive virtual reality games and digital music therapy.
Thanks to the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions in FY2022/23, we also welcome the resumption of more in-person activities. From rousing singalong sessions to bustling in-house bazaars, entertaining performances to collaborative platforms for learning useful skills and sharing information – the vibrancy and joy experienced across MWS Centres have been heartening.
On a more serious note, our Family Service Centres embarked on active engagement with community partners to tackle the growing trend in family violence. From working with hospital partners right to the perpetrators of family violence, this whole-system approach aims to reduce the risks of re-traumatising survivors and to break the cycle of abuse.
At MWS, we believe that people are our greatest asset and remain the core of our success. In 2022, we celebrated staff who exemplified our core values with the launch of the MWS Values-in-Action Awards. We also launched a new performance management framework so as to strengthen our performance-driven culture. We hope these initiatives will pave the way towards greater excellence as we do good better.
We recognise that living a full life encompasses many dimensions. Our mission to empower people to know this fullness of life is anchored on 2 key principles and operationalised through 4 main pillars.
Since its inception 40 years ago, MWS’ mission has been made possible when we serve not from our own strength but from adopting a posture of reliance on God. Nonetheless, we are deeply appreciative of the many who have journeyed with us to serve the community.
The dedication and commitment of the amazing Team MWS is a testimony of selfless service. We are also grateful to Junie Foo, our former CEO, for guiding MWS through the COVID-19 pandemic, spearheading new service offerings as well as enhancing MWS’ standing with the community and sector during her tenure. Junie left the organisation at the end of March 2023 to focus on her family.
In addition, we thank the MWS Board of Governance, Centre Governance Committees, Sub-Committees, partner churches, donors, volunteers and community partners who have come alongside us to make our work fulfilling and to extend meaningful connections with both beneficiaries and the community at large. To God be all Glory.
*MWS Active Ageing Centre – GreenTops@Sims Place was onboarded as an Active Ageing Centre on 1 April 2023; it operated as a Senior Activity Centre in FY2022/23.
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