Caption: Mdm Aminah (middle) in the company of NUS-CSC student volunteers
Try telling Mdm Aminah a joke and bursts into an uncontrollable laughter. The bubbly 70-year-old senior from TOUCH Senior Activity Centre (TSAC), who lives alone in a one-room rental flat in Geylang Bahru, enjoys the company of volunteers in her home.
Suffering from psoriasis, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, Mdm Aminah is only able to move around slowly with the help of a walking aid. She became a member of TSAC four years ago as she enjoys meeting people.
Caption: Senior befrienders presenting Mdm Aminah with a Mother’s Day card
Picking up the pieces
Mdm Aminah went through a rough patch in life when she was almost homeless 25 years ago. “At that time, I felt all alone. My husband was in the nursing home and I had no one else to turn to. Thankfully, I am able to live in this simple home in Geylang Bahru, surrounded by my friends from TOUCH,” said Mdm Aminah.
In her younger days, Mdm Aminah stayed mostly indoors due to her parents’ strict upbringing. She relished her freedom when she started working, spending five years in the hotel industry and over two decades as a production operator in a factory. Known as a workaholic, Mdm Aminah would give her best even if it meant cleaning up to 14 hotel rooms a day and lifting heavy mattresses. Her Chinese colleagues called her “爱美” or the pretty one, and among her engineer colleagues, she was known as “master” as she treated them like her sons.
Mdm Aminah’s worsening health condition caused her to retire in her 50s. By then, her skin condition was becoming a concern and her weak sense of balance made her prone to falls. TSAC staff flagged out her case and roped in the team from TOUCH’s Care Close to Home (C2H). TOUCH’s SCAs would visit her regularly to check her blood pressure and blood glucose, and remind her to take her medication. Mdm Aminah also needed help in applying topical cream on her affected skin.
Caption: C2H staff playing interactive games with Mdm Aminah
“When I have redness all over my body, I feel so uncomfortable. I find it hard to bend my body and apply cream on my legs. When I place one leg on a chair, I feel like falling. I am so grateful to TOUCH for helping me with this task,” added Mdm Aminah.
Mdm Aminah looks forward to spending her time interacting with volunteers from the National University of Singapore Students’ Community Service Club (NUS-CSC). They help her run errands, buy coffee and chit chat with her every Saturday.
“These students are smart. I can tell from the way they joke with me. They make themselves at home. Some would sit on the floor while others would sit on my bed. We joke a lot. When I see them listening so attentively, I feel so touched,” said Mdm Aminah with a smile.
Caption: Senior befriender Mdm Neo giving Mdm Aminah a good back massage.
Befrienders Mdm Neo Seik Hee, 63, and Mdm Lee Yoke Yong, 72, from TSAC’s Seniors Caring for Seniors programme, have also brought much comfort and laughter as they visit Mdm Aminah weekly.
“Who says I am lonely here? I have so many friends. I must always meet people so it helps keep me busy and my mind active. I still have so many jokes to share and interesting stories to tell!” said Mdm Aminah giggling.