Special National Day Shows Take Illness Off Their Minds

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Special National Day Shows Take Illness Off Their Minds

STORY: Sim Ding En
08 August 2020
Intergenerational and virtual connections were made during the early National Day celebrations at Alexandra Hospital.
Intergenerational and virtual connections were made during the early National Day celebrations at Alexandra Hospital. | Photos: Alexandra Hospital

Anyone who's been in hospital knows this: the last thing you want to think about is why you're there.

So, it was a treat for the patients at Alexandra Hospital to set aside their thoughts and anxieties about their ailments and injuries when the hospital organised two special performances in celebration of Singapore's 55th birthday.

On 6 Aug 2020, kids aged 5 and 6 from The Little Skool House led elderly patients in a singalong session of the National Anthem and National Day songs.

This first performance was part of the hospital's Intergenerational Therapy programme (launched last year) that not only helps to foster a bond between kids and the older generation, but also teaches children about values as well as aids in the cognitive stimulation of the elderly patients.

Senior Enrolled Nurse Durga Devi Chandremogan helps a patient recollect her life experiences as the patient reflects on a photo that was flashed during the Intergenerational Therapy session.
Senior Enrolled Nurse Durga Devi Chandremogan helps a patient recollect her life experiences as the patient reflects on a photo that was flashed during the Intergenerational Therapy session. | Photo: Alexandra Hospital

"Studies done on intergenerational therapy have shown that it improves the overall satisfaction and quality of life for both the young and elderly involved," says Dr Santhosh Seetharaman, Head of the Healthy Ageing Programme at Alexandra Hospital.

"Reminiscence therapy specifically can help elderly individuals with memory loss by improving their ability to recall distant memories.”

Patients enjoy a virtual multilingual performance of National Day songs.
Patients enjoy a virtual multilingual performance of National Day songs. | Photo: Alexandra Hospital

A second piece of entertainment was a virtual show on 7 Aug 2020 that saw three performers singing National Day favourites (including "Count On Me, Singapore" and "Chan Mali Chan") in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil as well as songs in Thai and Hindi as a tribute and a show of appreciation to migrant workers.

Patients Mdm Zaleha A Ghani (left) and Mdm Hoo Siew Keng appreciated the fact that the show was a welcome distraction.
Patients Mdm Zaleha A Ghani (left) and Mdm Hoo Siew Keng appreciated the fact that the show was a welcome distraction. | Photo: Alexandra Hospital

Two patients, in particular, found respite in the entertaining hour-long National Day-themed performance: Mdm Hoo Siew Keng, 84, who said the singing took her mind off her illness and was a source of comfort during her stay at the hospital; and Mdm Zaleha A Ghani, 68, who has been living alone since her husband passed away five years ago, and was glad to celebrate the nation's birthday a little differently this year.

Recovering COVID-19 patient Mr Xu Dong.
Recovering COVID-19 patient Mr Xu Dong. | Photo: Alexandra Hospital

Likewise, the celebratory shows were a source of delight for recovering COVID-19 patients, such as 51-year-old Mr Xu Dong, who has lived in Singapore since 2008. However, this is the first time he's celebrating National Day.

Happily, the musical performance is not just a one-off affair, and is, in fact, part of the hospital's H.E.A.L (Help, Engage, Assist Lives) programme that sees volunteers and members of the arts and entertainment community fostering an appreciation for the arts among the patients and caregivers.

And that is what you call the SG United spirit - which goes way beyond 9 August.

Happy National Day! Stay safe.

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TAGS: NDP2020 , National Day , Singapore United , Exceptional People
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