A pillar of support to vulnerable seniors

A pillar of support to vulnerable seniors

Caption: TSAC is a second home to many seniors – a place where they can find friendship and receive support

Commonly known as “Wang Tai” or “Mrs Ong” to her seniors, Ms Yong Yin Hoong, 61, Assistant Manager from TOUCH Senior Activity Centre, does more than just ensure the smooth running of her centre. Whether it is investigating a foul smell at the flat corridor or keeping tabs on seniors with depression or suicidal tendencies or persuading hoarders to declutter their homes or making funeral arrangements for those with little or no family support, Yin Hoong is a faithful friend to many seniors in Geylang Bahru.

“My seniors are like family to me. I have experienced so much love from them. I will do my best to help them live a dignified and purposeful life,” said Yin Hoong.

Never too old to learn

Caption: Yin Hoong journeys with her seniors in good and challenging times

Yin Hoong and her TSAC team serves some 900 seniors in Geylang Bahru, of which most are from rental blocks. Her oldest client is over 100 years old.

Prior to joining TOUCH, Yin Hoong spent more than a decade doing operational work in MNCs before devoting her career to help vulnerable seniors.

As a passionate worker who believes in upgrading her skills to  provide better care to her seniors, Yin Hoong continued lifelong learning at 59 years old, and was awarded 2nd Class Honours (1st division), Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychological Studies in 2017 from the University of Derby.

Fearless and courageous

Caption: Yin Hoong has a soft spot for seniors who have become frail and homebound

For many seniors, Yin Hoong is their pillar of support. She is especially attentive to the needs of vulnerable seniors who live alone.  In some desperate situations, she has had to break down doors before help could arrive.

With no experience dealing with funeral matters, Yin Hoong was not afraid to learn and understand the procedures involved. She has cultivated good relations with funeral companies, who would provide free funerals for the needy in society. Being a hands on person, Yin Hoong has handled some 20 funeral arrangements.

“Our seniors have done much for our country. I want them to live a dignified life. I always tell myself one day I will also become old and frail. I feel sad when I see my seniors’ health deteriorating as they age. Out of respect for our seniors, especially for those with no family members, I will always try our best to arrange for a proper funeral and attend it, even if no one else does so,” said Yin Hoong.

Connecting seniors with the community

Caption: Singapore Power staff volunteers helping out at a breakfast session at TSAC

Caption: Yin Hoong (left) having an enjoyable time with seniors like Mr Sum Kin Nar (right) at a corporate volunteer event

As an advocate for ageing-in-place, Yin Hoong has initiated several projects to empower seniors and help them enjoy a better quality of life, such as the IShopUPay, Home Improvement Projects and the Seniors Caring for Seniors programmes.

Yin Hoong recognises the importance of mobilising volunteers from all walks of life to help meet the needs of seniors. Homebound seniors are also given the opportunity to go out for outings and meals with support from volunteers. Seniors with cluttered homes can also look forward to a more conducive living environment with their homes spruced up.

When asked what keeps her going, she said “I think of my seniors all the time. If I can help them I will do it. But if I can’t, I will try and ask others for help.”

In recognition of her outstanding service in impacting the lives of seniors, Yin Hoong received the Healthcare Humanity Award (Honourable Mention) - the highest accolade given to extraordinary individuals - from President Halimah Yacob at Orchard Hotel on 25 April 2019