Stay­ing

A PJ-based se­nior cit­i­zens as­so­ci­a­tion serves as a hub to im­prove the lives and health of older per­sons.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SENIOR - By SHEELA CHAN­DRAN star2@thes­tar.com.my

AS THE pop­u­la­tion ages and the num­ber of se­nior cit­i­zens in­creases, it is es­sen­tial to sup­port the el­derly with fa­cil­i­ties that can help them age in pos­i­tive and ac­tive ways. One of the best ways to stay ac­tive, healthy and young at heart is to en­cour­age se­niors to en­gage in a life­style that im­proves vi­tal­ity.

Re­tirees in the Klang Val­ley can fur­ther en­hance the qual­ity of their lives by sign­ing up for so­cial classes at the Se­nior Cit­i­zens As­so­ci­a­tion, Se­lan­gor and Fed­eral Ter­ri­tory (Secita), a non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion based in Pe­tal­ing Jaya.

Secita, es­tab­lished in 1984 by a group of re­tired pro­fes­sion­als and civil ser­vants, aims at look­ing into the needs, wel­fare and in­ter­ests of the com­mu­nity. Its pres­i­dent Kathryn Yong Fui Yoon says the as­so­ci­a­tion prides it­self as a one-stop com­mu­nity cen­tre for peo­ple liv­ing in and around Pe­tal­ing Jaya.

“Secita pro­vides ser­vices and pro­grammes, in­clud­ing so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and com­mu­nity sup­port for peo­ple from all walks of life. The as­so­ci­a­tion aims to pro­mote phys­i­cal, emo­tional and spir­i­tual well-be­ing, ir­re­spec­tive of race, colour or creed,” said Yong, 77, in an in­ter­view.

The as­so­ci­a­tion owns an im­pres­sive three-storey day care cen­tre in SS5 in Ke­lana Jaya. Built in 2010, the RM3mil build­ing com­prises a large multi-pur­pose hall, con­fer­ence rooms and stu­dios where mem­bers can en­list in classes that suit their needs. Cur­rently, there are over 500 mem­bers aged from 18 to 90 years old.

“The cen­tre pro­vides re­tirees with an op­por­tu­nity to learn new skills, keep ac­tive and so­cialise with other mem­bers. Its main ob­jec­tive is to en­cour­age se­nior cit­i­zens to stay ac­tive, healthy and happy. Pro­grammes of­fered at the as­so­ci­a­tion have an enor­mous im­pact on peo­ple’s lives as it helps them to strengthen morale and pro­mote a pos­i­tive out­look in life,” said Yong, who has been a Secita mem­ber for over 25 years.

Secita of­fers dance lessons, in­clud­ing line danc­ing and so­cial danc­ing; phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties like taichi, wai tan kung and body ton­ing aer­o­bics; Man­darin lan­guage tu­to­ri­als and IT cour­ses. Seven re­tirees serve as vol­un­teer teach­ers at the cen­tre.

Taichi classes for be­gin­ners are held on Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day at 8am, and ad­vanced taichi lessons take place on Wed­nes­day at 9am. If chore­ographed dance move­ments tickle your fancy, check out line danc­ing classes on Mon­day and Wed­nes­day at 10am. For those who en­joy so­cial dance styles from ball­room and waltz to mambo, salsa and tango, join in the lessons on Fri­day at 10am. Dance classes for be­gin­ners are slated on Tues­day at 2pm. Choir lessons are held on Thurs­day af­ter­noons.

“Mem­bers are usu­ally very en­thu­si­as­tic about th­ese classes, re­sult­ing in lessons stretched to one and half hours,” quipped Yong. The classes are priced at RM20 and RM50.

To add more spice into the life of its mem­bers, Yong and her com­mit­tee mem­bers also or­gan­ise lo­cal and over­seas tours. This year, mem­bers got a chance to travel to Guangzhou, China; Be­tong, Thai­land; and cruise to Phuket and Krabi. As far as lo­cal trips, Yong has also or­gan­ised short vis­its to Raub, Pa­hang and Che­mor, Perak.

“Con­sid­er­ing that most trav­ellers are re­tirees, we try to plan trips that aren’t too far away from home. We try to con­duct as many lo­cal tours as most mem­bers like to jalan-jalan, cari makan. Most im­por­tantly, th­ese out­ings pro­vide se­nior cit­i­zens with a chance to ex­plore dif­fer­ent places and have fun along the way,” said Yong.

Be­sides classes and tours, Secita or­gan­ises events such as mem­ory booster camps, beauty work­shops, health talks and fes­tive din­ners (Chi­nese New Year, Hari Raya, Deep­avali and

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