Caption: Mdm Song (right) posing for a candid shot with TOUCH staff Ms Tracy Lee (left).
When 84-year-old Mdm Song Ah Thai went for her right hip replacement surgery due to Osteoarthritis in September last year, she was worried about her condition and suffered sleepless nights. Living alone in her four-room flat in Ang Mo Kio, Mdm Song wondered if she could still take care of herself on her own at home.
“Thankfully, I remembered that TOUCH could help old people like me. My friend Tracy, who became my friend when she came knocking at my door one day to join TOUCH’s activities, had told me about it,” said Mdm Song.
Caption: Mdm Song is now a regular face at [email protected] 433.
Not giving up
Mdm Song was then referred by the hospital to TOUCH Home Care (THC) for further support. Due to her mobility constraints, Mdm Song received help in having her meals delivered at her doorstep, keeping her home clean, going for medical appointments and receiving home therapy to strengthen her muscles. THC’s team continued to encourage her to take small steps to regain her independence.
Meanwhile, Ms Tracy Lee, TOUCH’s coordinator for the Community Befriending Programme, continued to reach out to Mdm Song. “It took several attempts before Mdm Song felt confident to walk on her own. I could tell she really wanted to be out there and not stuck at home. She just needed a nudge and some encouragement,” said Ms Lee.
When Mdm Song finally stepped out of her home after recuperating from her surgery, she kept saying “I feel very happy!”. She was then introduced to Ms Thang Gek Choo, 60, TOUCH volunteer and befriender, who would accompany her to the hospital for her appointments.
“Mdm Song has come a long way. In the past, she would always say that her surgery wounds have not healed. This affected her confidence as she was always thinking of the pain. But after stepping out of the home, meeting residents at TOUCHpoint and doing things together, she is smiling a lot now,” said Ms Thang.
Caption: Mdm Song (right) enjoying an activity at [email protected] 433 with befriender Ms Thang.
Learning to be part of an enabled community
Every week, Mdm Song visits the Community Health Post at [email protected] 433, where she is advised by the nurses from Tan Tock Seng Hospital regarding her health status. She also joins other resident befrienders who would gather with their befriendees for meals, engaging in activities and learning together.
“I was so touched when I saw Mdm Song bringing from home chopsticks for a Chinese New Year potluck gathering at TOUCHpoint. Although she could not cook, she has founds ways to contribute. She has also asked her neighbours to attend calligraphy sessions. She was also not afraid to ask questions at a recent cooking demonstration session,” said Ms Lee.
Caption: Mdm Song (extreme right) enjoying the company of neighbours
“I am grateful to TOUCH for giving me a chance to rediscover myself and to engage in meaningful activities with others. I am very happy!,” said Mdm Song.