Ageing well in community

Elderly Group

Ageing well in community

Caption: Mdm Sumam (right) with TOUCH’s occupational therapist Ms Brenda Yap.

83-year-old Mdm Sumam, who is single, suffers from hearing impairment and lives alone in a four-room flat in Ang Mo Kio. She used to lead an active and independent life, cooking her own meals, doing laundry and taking public transport for her medical appointments and to meet friends.

Loving the outdoors, Sumam would always take part in activities organised by other social service agencies. One day, THC staff, Mdm Tracy Lee, knocked on her door and invited her to drop by the newly opened [email protected] 433 located near her block.

Drawing closer to residents
Mdm Sumam was initially hesitant to go as she did not know anyone there. All that changed when she met her ex-neighbour Mdm Dhana, 68, who became her befriender. They would exercise together and attend art & craft sessions and festive celebrations at [email protected] 433.

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Caption: Mdm Sumam (in white) surrounded by friends at [email protected] 433

One of her most memorable moments was learning how to use her smart phone as part of the Digitally Ready Seniors Programme by TOUCH. The training sessions ended with a special visit to Facebook’s corporate office.

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Caption: Mdm Suman (front row fourth from right) at the special visit to the Digital Inclusion Festival at Lifelong Learning Institute.

“I never imagine I could be trained to use my smart phone at my age. I am always learning new things together with my friends. It makes my life more interesting and meaningful, “ said Mdm Sumam.

However, Mdm Sumam’s life took a bad turn in August last year when she fell from her bed at home and sustained a fracture on her left arm. She quickly called Tracy for help and was rushed to the hospital. She was then transferred to a community hospital, where she spent six weeks rehabilitating from her injuries. During this period, Tracy recommended TOUCH Home Care’s (THC) services as Mdm Sumam needed help to prepare meals, shower, keep her home clean and go to the hospital for medical appointments. Her brother also supported her this period and was happy to learn that she will be under the good care of TOUCH.

The road to recovery
To further strengthen her balance, Mdm Sumam was also referred to the Day Rehabilitation Centre at [email protected] 433. Resident volunteers would accompany her twice a week for her therapy sessions. TOUCH’s occupational therapist worked on her upper limbs to enable her to resume her activities, while the physiotherapist trained her standing balance and exercise endurance to help her walk confidently to her frequently visited places in the community.  

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Caption: Mdm Sumam (right) having a lively conversation with Ms Brenda Yap (left), TOUCH's occupational therapist

“Mdm Sumam is someone who knows what she wants in life. She is a highly motivated individual who is always willing to listen to feedback and suggestions on how to get better. She is very disciplined in her home exercises and always looks forward to her therapy sessions,” said Ms Brenda Yap, Occupational Therapist, TOUCH Home Care.

After three months of therapy, Mdm Sumam could walk steadily to [email protected] 433 and Chong Boon Market.

“Being able to meet my friends again makes me really happy. I am so thankful I have so many people helping me. I don’t feel so afraid now,” added Mdm Sumam.