Ageing is an inevitable process that everyone has to go through in life, but why are we always trying to avoid it? According to Martin Firrell, ageing is a privilege not a predicament.
As one of Make The Change's main pillars, community development has always been close to our hearts. Through programmes such as Digital Arts For All (DAFA), we had the chance to train and work with youth facilitators to connect with active seniors in Singapore.
This time, MTC is happy to be at the Ageing Asia Exhibition to find out how we, as changemakers, can play our part for the ageing population in Asia.
Asia’s first curated ageing exhibition was held on the 14th and 15th May 2019. It showcased the world’s top 50 trending products that will change the future of ageing; from a specially designed playground for the elders to clinical sessions for better health. There were many innovative ideas that were eye-catching and many of which showed potential in bettering our ageing population in Singapore.
We had many hands-on opportunities at the exhibition as new innovations are often difficult to understand properly through explanations only. The exhibitors were more than willing to show us about their innovations through demonstrations. They even encouraged us to try them out and this really helped us to fully grasp the concepts of them. Overall, it was a pleasant experience as the people there were welcoming, friendly and enthusiastic.
We saw many interesting innovations and here are our top picks!
1. I’m Soul Inc
We cannot help but wander towards the song ‘上海滩 Shang Hai Tan’ the moment we entered the exhibition and there, we found ourselves at I’m Soul Inc. They are a social enterprise that breaks barrier by using engaging programmes and innovative technology to allow everyone to make music for mind, body and soul. Neuroscience proves that music has power and that Music Making boosts this power on our brains and wellness. I'm Soul Inc delivers the booster shot.
We were approached by a friendly representative and without hesitation, she showed us how the sound beam produces music through movement. In an instant, it blew our minds away. I got the opportunity to try out the sound beam and honestly speaking, I never knew technology could be used this way! It is so simple to use and with just a few taps, I have already created a piece of music! It is user-friendly and definitely, elderly-friendly. We got curious and asked if it was possible to play a song just like the one we heard only to find out that the controller includes 41 pre-composed soundsets! Isn’t that the best?
I’m Soul Inc not only targets the elderly sector as their beneficiary, but their technology is also made for everyone! The representative mentioned that it also helps children with special needs, people with cerebral palsy and Parkinson to even cancer patients! An uncomplicated solution yet inclusive for all to use.
We stumbled across Moto at the corner of the exhibition hall and their colourful LED lighted tiles caught our attention. Moto’s motto (ahahahha) is to bring happiness to life and they do so through play. They sell tiles that can sense pressure, and has 8 lights placed in a circular format embedded in the tiles which shine up in the colours of the rainbow. The tiles are designed like LEGO bricks, which can put together in different shapes like in a straight line, in a square, in a horseshoe, etc. The Moto tiles can even be placed away from each other to allow longer runs. It comes with an app pre-installed in a tablet which contains the different variety of games and controls the Moto tiles for play.
Even though we were not able to have a talk with the representatives of Moto tiles, we saw snippets of how it works through videos and it truly amazed me. These tiles not only improved the lives of the elderly but also people from all walks of lives. They have users ranging from refugees suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to stroke patients and children with cerebral palsy. Seeing a stroke patient being able to stand and move accordingly to the lighted tiles left me awestruck. Normally, physiotherapy is painful and strenuous to patients but in that video, he was having the time of his life with a smile on his face when he was on the tiles.
Because of that video, I could see why Moto is the winner for Product Innovation of the Year. A simple idea that made use of technology brought along so many health benefits; creating joy for anyone and everyone while bringing life-changing effects around the world.
The next pick is Aspire55! Aspire55 is Asia’s first virtual retirement village that offers a combination of social, health and cares services but enables members to continue living in their existing homes. They hold programmes like strength training, brain training to reduce risks of dementia and regular social activities for their members.
We were introduced to their newest edition, the Bunne Music Guitars. Unlike traditional guitars, the Bunne Music Guitars only have 3 chords, making it simple for all ages and abilities to play music. The exhibitor demonstrated the song ‘Edelweiss’ and it was so mesmerising that I started humming along to the rhythm. Later, we got the chance to strum the guitar to ‘Happy Birthday’ while she guided us with some simple hand gestures. Music has never been easier for someone who is tone deaf like me, I literally felt like the next Mozart. And amazingly, in just that short span of me playing the guitar, I could feel my entire body bursting with energy.
The Bunne method was first developed in 1980 by Sten Bunne to make music easier for all. Music therapy has been found to have physiological and psychological effects that improve the quality of life. It boosts brain activity especially for those with dementia and that is the intent of the Bunnes Method. The Bunne Music Guitar has just arrived in Singapore not too long ago and I look forward to it kick starting at Aspire55, healing and bringing musical happiness to more elders in Singapore.
1.5 hours there was definitely not adequate as we explored the wide variety of booths. It is heartwarming yet fascinating to see all the unique inventions come to life and changing the future of ageing. Ageing has always been an off-putting topic but with these inventions, ageing may become a less daunting process.