Day 3 of ACLC 2018 kicked started with Ms Clara Lee, Head of Corporate Communications and Branding from NTUC Health Co-operative sharing about how different organisation had collaborated together to bring support to the silver population.

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One such collaboration is when NTUC Health launched Linens for Life in Singapore which aims to help seniors to achieve a sense of purpose, slow down the progression of dementia and serve as an interactive activity between seniors and children. Diversey, Shangri-La Hotel and Resort World Sentosa provided the seniors from NTUC Health Silver Circle @ Serangoon Central with their used linens to upcycle it. Tapping into the talents and existing sewing knowledge of the seniors, the seniors who were involved in this project are empowered to create their own tote bag or products along with students from Nanyang Girls’ High School. Even the children from My First Skool are empowered to assist the seniors in this project too! This restores the confidence of the elderly who might not think that they are able to contribute in their twilight years.

We also learnt how NTUC Health have adopted Esther’s network which is a philosophy of patient-centered care by Singhealth where healthcare professionals and the community come together to offer the care patients truly need. One example which touched my heart is the story of Mdm Helen. Mdm Helen Fernandez, 78 is having dementia and has been living alone for 17 years since her husband passed away. She often called the police for help and was referred by Social Service Agency to NTUC Health in 2015. She often does not remember if she has taken her meals, medicine and missed her doctors’ appointment frequently. She was lonely and the anxiety often builds in whenever she does not remember. But she was not lonely anymore when Ms Ahmala Rajoo, Care Executive of NTUC Health Cluster Support (Bukit Merah) together with a group of volunteers from Helping Joy came to clean her flat as part of home care services. Her personal hygiene improved, meal deliveries, daily medication reminder and transportation to her medical appointment are being taken care of. The volunteers will visit her on a regular basis to be-friend with her and bring her out for a walk. The act of coming together is small, but that brings a greater joy to Mdm Helen, knowing that there are people who are there for her. With the community support, she gained her social life back even though her memory failed at times. The company of others indeed made her stronger again!

I leave with you what Ms Ahmala shared in the video:“For Helen, I would say that every visit to Helen is a gift to me because she was so excited whenever she sees me. We shared a special bond. She doesn’t really understand that I’m doing the job of a social worker. I’m like a friend to her. Although her memory is poor, I think the fact that she remembers me every time she sees me, that means a lot to me.”

I guess that is the spirit of co-operatives where we self-help and mutual help each other for the betterment of everyone. With a common goal, co-operative will continue to be relevant to the community and strengthened to be sustainable as we collaborate. Though the reward might not be tangible, the effort might not be seen, but we are called to be faithful to the things we are entrusted in our hands.

The last speaker of the conference is Mr Kenneth Kwan, High-Performance Strategist and Leadership Speaker from Deep Impact Pte Ltd to share with us how small steps can result in big changes. I like the energy level when he first kicked his sharing!

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He shared 3 practical steps in achieving small steps to big changes. Listening to the wish behind the complaint, Ability to identify and amplify useful change and Small changes in the right direction leads to large changes

1. Listen to the wish behind the complaint
“What you want is more important than what you don’t want.”
Many times when we faced roadblocks at work or project, we will call for meeting to create a special taskforce to identify the problem and think of solutions of it. He shared a story of a company which faced communication issue within their staff. One group of the staff are locals while the other group of staff are foreigners where they find it hard to integrate amongst each other. So while listening to the management’s sharing, he asked them if what the management would like to have is a team of high performing team and the management agreed. He could see the smile of the management whenever they talk about having a high performing team. Hence, he shared that instead of focusing on the problem, look for a solution first! Be solution-oriented, look out of the reason of the problem. He urged the participants to understand the wish behind the complaint instead of focusing on the complaint.

2. Ability to identify and amplify useful change
He also shared that in many organisations, people like to identify and amplify useless changes or things that failed. Why? It is more exciting to talk and remember this. Organisations spent more time to talk about problems instead of solutions. Hence, Mr Kwan worked with organisations by helping them to search for things that have worked well to create improvement. He made the organisation look for evidence for success and reflect on reasons that have brought about it. By studying what create a better outcome, you amplify and do more of it. Success will breed more success when we choose to consistently seek the practice of doing what success has been that lead to it. Hence, he encouraged the participants to remember small useful changes that have helped the co-operative to be better and continue to do more of it.

3. Small changes in the right direction lead to larger changes
He shared an interesting analogy on dog training. To train a dog to jump five feet up, the dog trainer will place the hoop on the floor first and asked the dog to go in and out of the hoops. Slowly as the dog does this a few times, the trainer encourages and rewards the dog. Next, he places the hoop half a foot higher and the dog tries to walk through with ease and after doing it a few more times, the trainer raises it another half a foot. At this point, the dog realises that it needs to lift its legs a little higher in order to get through the hoop. The dog is encouraged and rewarded. The trainer slowly raised the hoops another half a foot, higher and higher. with each successive try, the dog is encouraged and rewarded with its new success. The dog is set up for its success by starting the jump small and slowly increased the level of difficulty. The dog can do it because the dog had build greater confidence with each of the steps he jumped with encouragement.

Likewise, people who are winning small consistently are highly motivated. For example, having them to create monthly goals and achieved it is better than having long-term goals as people will tend to procrastinate and drag their feet to kick start. Hence, he urged the participants to set up a process where their staff can feel that they are winning, where every small step they take leads them to bigger changes. Not everyone can take big steps buy everyone can take small steps forward.

Win small, you will win more!
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Ended ACLC 2018 at Phuket, Thailand with the team behind the conference and our keynote speaker! I take heart knowing that indeed we are stronger together as we work toward a common goal of being sustainable for our future.

Before the Farewell Dinner, a group of us went to Old Phuket Town which reminded us so much of Penang due to the setting of the place.

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What was so special about the pork chop be is actually the sauce! It was so good that I managed to finish all the rice! Normally, I will try to eat lesser carbo because I feel like a heavy! No regrets for consuming such delicious food!

The highlight of the day was I finally get to try the fried dough fritter which is called patongko in Thai!

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You must be wondering why am I so hyped up on it right? BECAUSE it is in a smaller size as compared to the one you can find in Singapore! There are dips for purchase to accompany with the patongko!  You know, it is like churros! This is something which you cannot find in Singapore’s Macdonalds! Yumzzzz!

After Farewell Dinner, we went on a shopping spree because there isn’t anything else interesting to get as souvenir other than food! There are loads of different flavour of potato chips which can only found in Big C Supermarket. And HEY, they have Big C extra too, just like FairPrice Xtra!

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This is just half of what I bought though! Of course, not all are mine, most are gifts to be given away.

The night ended with a happy Esther carrying 5 bags along with the help of those who didn’t purchase much! Appreciate the help renders!

I AM SO READY TO BE BACK TO SINGAPORE! 🙂