Rain or shine, 76-year-old Mdm Chew Siew Lay has been faithfully coming to [email protected] 433 for her regular exercises. It was especially challenging during the Circuit Breaker period with the suspension of activities at [email protected] 433. Gradually as some small group activities resumed, Mdm Chew was excited to be back again. One of the fun activities she tried was Belly Dancing.
“I was bored doing things on my own for so long. Being able to exercise together with my neighbours at TOUCHpoint makes a big difference. I enjoy learning Belly Dancing together with them too. As I have weak joints, I will sit on the chair and sway my arms. It doesn’t matter if we laugh at one another’s mistake as we are friends. I feel energised!” said Mdm Chew.
In her younger days, Mdm Chew loved to dance. She would dance with her friends at parties or festive celebrations. The familiar rhythms and movements brought back fond memories of her colourful past.
“When dance, you can’t be stiff. You need to be agile and just sink into the music. It will come naturally,” quipped Mdm Chew.
Previously under the care of TOUCH Home Care, Mdm Chew has come a long way since she suffered a backbone fracture and went for knee replacement surgery. Plagued by osteoarthritis in both knees and persistent numbness in her legs, she had to make frequent trips to the polyclinic. As she lives alone at home, she was filled with worries.
Thanks to her elderly neighbour, Madam Han Kim Eng, a befriendee under TOUCH’s Community Befriending Programme, who flagged her case to TOUCH staff as she felt her friend needed help at home. It was a life changer.
Caption: Ang Mo Kio residents enjoying a lively virtual HAPPY session together with seniors from TOUCH’s Senior Activity Centres.
Caption: Mdm Chew (front) doing strength training exercises with residents before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since then, Mdm Chew smiles more readily and looks forward to weekly breakfast sessions with her neighbours. Moving beyond a recipient, she has found ways to show kindness to others, such as cooking special meals for her friends and TOUCH staff.
“I believe that anyone – regardless of their age or abilities – can do something for others,” added Mdm Chew.
As an active participant in the virtual exercise sessions, Mdm Chew is determined to stay fit as long as she can. She is not worried if she needs help as she is surrounded by a strong network of support.
Mdm Chew achieved a breakthrough recently when she succeeded in responding to a WhatsApp video call on her own at home. Previously, she would feel nervous about exploring other functions on her smart phone. Even in the midst of this pandemic outbreak, Mdm Chew still encourages other seniors to stay fit and continues to keep a lookout for those in need.
Story published in 2020.