Finding hope, regaining independence

Elderly Group

Finding hope, regaining independence

Caption: Mr Leng and Mdm Koh supporting each other.

Mr Leng Ah Tee, 69, was cycling home one day when he was knocked down by a taxi two years ago. He suffered multiple fractures of his left hip, shin and rib bones, and had severe lacerations on his left arm. He was in great pain and had to be hospitalised for one and a half months. Mr Leng felt extremely worried then as he wondered if he could ever walk again. His wife, Mdm Koh Bee Hiong, 69, who has mobility issues, needed help at home.

“I couldn’t move my body. I knew I was in bad shape. My mind went blank and I felt helpless. I wanted to cry. I was worried about my wife too. I did not want to sit on a wheelchair for the rest of my life, “ said Mr Leng.

Getting back on his feet
Mr Leng was referred to social service agencies, including TOUCH Community Services for further support, as he was unable to walk and needed help at home. TOUCH aides helped to run errands and accompanied him for medical appointments.

He also received home therapy to improve his mobility to enable him to continue his daily routine. Physiotherapist Ms Emmeline Gay worked with Mr Leng improve his strength, agility and sense of balance. Equipment training was conducted as various walking aids were explored. Emmeline also helped him navigate his normal route to the market and shops, and taught him how to negotiate kerbs safely as he progressed from using a rollator frame to a quad stick and to an umbrella stick. Eventually, his standing balance and legs strength improved and he no longer needed a walking aid to move around in the community.

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Caption: Physiotherapist Ms Emmeline Gay (right) with Mr Leng (left) exercising at a nearby park

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Caption: Step training to strengthen muscles and endurance to prevent falls.

To further strengthen his lower limbs. therapy sessions were conducted at a hill park next to his block to practise climbing stairs and walking on uneven surfaces to train his standing balance and endurance. Emmeline also accompanied Mr Leng to a neighbourhood shopping mall to train him to walk longer distances as he gained confidence and strength. Towards the end of his rehabilitation, he was introduced to the Gym Tonic strength training programme at [email protected] 433.

Staying engaged in the community
“I was determined to get well and I wanted to regain my independence. I have to be strong so that I can continue to take care of my wife,” added Mr Leng.

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Caption: Mr Leng now works at a cleaner at [email protected] 433.

lowres Mr Leng5Caption: Mr Leng (right) learning digital skills from Ang Mo Kio resident Mr Lee Yue Choi (left).

At [email protected] 433, he befriended TOUCH staff and residents. Resident volunteer Ms Esther Tan befriended the couple. She would also check on Mdm Koh regularly and help her run errands. As Mr Leng was looking for a job, TOUCH offered him a part-time job as a cleaner at [email protected] 433.

“I am happy I can get on with my life. I don’t worry so much now. I know more residents now. Sometimes we will greet each other at the supermarket.  I also can exercise at the place where I am working – together with my therapists. That’s good enough to keep me smiling each day,” said Mr Leng.