On 17 June 2023, IMU Cares organised the Senior’s Fall Prevention Programme at Rumah Charis Old Folks Home in Kuala Lumpur. The event saw the participation of 33 individuals, including IMU staff and student volunteers, IMU alumni from DearKyra, a social enterprise focused on women’s health that was founded by an IMU alumni and senior citizens of the old folk’s home.
The event kicked off at approximately 8.30 a.m. with a health screening session, during which the blood glucose, blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and uric acid levels of the senior citizens were assessed. The glucometers and automatic blood pressure monitors were provided by IMU Cares, whereas the Avometer Avant multi-monitoring system devices were contributed by DearKyra’s personnel and IMU alumni, Loh Hui Lin and David Ong Cherk Yon.
Throughout the health screening session, the senior citizens were guided to each station and given slips containing their blood test results. “Through this event, students will have the opportunity to communicate with the community and learn to conduct blood tests.” Dr Phyu Synn Oo, Pathology and Pharmacology, IMU School of Medicine, said.
“This hands-on experience allows students to relate the theory that they’ve learnt to practice,” Dr Heethal Jaiprakash, IMU School of Medicine, further added.
Seow Lean Kim, a senior citizen, expressed her gratitude at the service provided by the student volunteers, praising their gentleness and humility. “The student’s attitude towards us, the elderly, is very friendly, seeing that all of you even smiled and greeted us “Good morning.” when you first arrived here.”
Another senior citizen, Lee Sooi Keng, expressed her heartfelt gratitude towards IMU Cares, which had also previously provided them with health screening services. “IMU Cares’ concern towards the elderly community has benefitted us tremendously. Upon knowing our blood test results, we would understand our health conditions and know how to control our diets.”
According to Viyana Lee, IMU student cohort ME122, some senior citizens were discovered to have underlying health conditions such as high glucose levels. “It is important that we monitor their blood pressure levels and others to determine whether their medications should change or whether their medications are working well for them. Once we’ve gotten these readings, we would advise the caregiver to follow up with the necessary measures.”
Dr Foo Fatt Mee, Psychology, IMU School of Medicine, observed that some of the senior citizens were happy with their blood test results. “Some of them came well-prepared with their medical documents. This shows that they are aware and very much concerned about their health conditions.”
“Through this event, I’ve learned the importance of helping those in need, and of providing the support within my capability, such as guiding the senior citizens through their diets,” Ang Shi Kai IMU student cohort ME123 said.
“To be here for them, to see what they need, to respect their feelings, it makes a difference to their lives,” Wong I Mieng, IMU student cohort MOC122 expressed.
Dr Liew Yun Khoon, IMU School of Pharmacy and Project Leader for this programme, said that “We’re very grateful to both of our alumni, Hui Lin and David, for coming back to volunteer with us for this programme. It is also good that the students have learnt to operate the different devices to measure uric acid levels, blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels.”
Following the Osteoporosis awareness talk given by Loh Hui Lin from DearKyra, Chua Teck Kwang IMU student cohort DT120 took to the stage to demonstrate various exercise postures for fall prevention against a backdrop of vibrant chatter and pulsating laughter as the senior citizens strived to imitate his postures.
According to David Ong Cherk Yong, this was DearKyra’s first initiative to reach out to an old folk’s home, as their previous initiatives were mainly centred around family planning services. “We wanted to help these elderly women by providing uric acid and blood cholesterol tests. We also plan to reach out to B40 communities in the future and teach them about family planning.”
The programme ended with one-to-one medical consultations conducted by Dr Heethal Jaiprakash and the two DearKyra personnel, who guided the senior citizens through their medications.
Overall, the Senior’s Fall Prevention Programme went without a hitch, and the volunteers departed from Rumah Charis Old Folks Home at approximately 11.15 am, leaving the senior citizens to their much-awaited lunchtime.
Written by Goh Li Lian (FIS 123)