Active Aging Consortium Asia Pacific Bulletin (July – August 2022)
Teresa Tsien (Senior Consultant, Mighty Oaks) and Poh Lee Tan (Founder, Mighty Oaks)
Many of us aspire to grow old gracefully. Yet for some, growing old can be the hardest experience of all. At Mighty Oaks Foundation, we believe that every elderly person deserves to live with dignity, purpose, hope, and love. However, due to social, economic, and cultural circumstances, many elders are neglected and misunderstood.
The mission of Mighty Oaks is to create an age-friendly society by transforming lives and communities through innovative intergenerational programmes that build connections and friendships between the old and young.
The fifth wave of the pandemic hit Hong Kong hard in late January 2022, when there were many more COVID-19 infections and deaths in the following two-month period, compared to the entire period since the pandemic began in early 2020. Our healthcare system and mortuaries were overrun and unable to cope. Very strict social distancing measures were implemented. We quickly stepped in to address the plight of vulnerable elders who lack family support and community networks.
With support from many donors, sponsors, partners, and volunteers, Mighty Oaks alleviated the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of vulnerable elders under the Mighty Oaks Community Programmes:
- 2,800 COVID-19 rapid antigen tests were distributed to elderly homes most in need.
- The Mighty Oaks Care Packages Programme benefited 8,500 singleton elders with 293,700 face masks, 8,770 (boxes of 3) COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, 8,000 toilet rolls, 3,000 bottles of sanitizing liquid, 8,500 bags of rice, and 9,500 packs of non-perishable food.
- To help singleton elders who suffer mentally and emotionally from their isolation and fear of venturing outdoors, the Mighty Oaks Chat With Singletons Programme encouraged 160 young volunteers to make multiple telephone calls to 380 singleton elders over two months. This provided cheer and light-hearted relief, emphasizing the need for the young and old to engage and communicate.
- To improve the mental well-being of under-privileged elders and children, the Mighty Oaks Expressive Arts Therapy Programme partnered with 15 elder facilities and 4 primary schools to use arts to express emotions and relieve stress related to the fifth wave of COVID-19. 200 participants experienced enhanced social interaction and mutual support.
- The Mighty Oaks Home Improvement Programme offered sanitizing services to 150 singleton elder households with an anti-bacterial protective coating that kills 99.9% of the COVID-19 virus. 2,300 singleton elder households received essential home appliances of their choice, such as blood pressure monitors, rice cookers, fans, and kettles.
The work continues throughout the year with Mighty Oaks Programmes, including Anchoring Children with Elders (ACE) Academy, ACE Talks, and ACE Art, where our philosophy of Anchoring Children with Elders connects elder facilities with nearby schools, encouraging youth to better understand and communicate with elders.
At Mighty Oaks, we have been blessed and are very thankful to have the support of so many individuals and organizations that enable us to continue our mission of transforming lives and communities through intergenerational activities that benefit our elders.
For more information on Mighty Oaks Foundation, please contact us at email@example.com.