Caption: Seniors advocating for healthier living
"Volunteering has given me a greater sense of purpose to touch the lives of others. Many seniors like to carry emotional baggage from the past. But I always tell them not to think of it and to look ahead. I do what I can to bring them hope."
...Mdm Lim Gek Huay, 86
It is heartwarming to see seniors building good friendships and volunteering together in their golden years. Thanks to TOUCH Active Ageing’s (TAA) centre at Yishun Blk 162, residents have become closer and stepped up to do good in society.
It all started when Mdm Liew Cheong Yin, 71, was passing by TAA’s newly opened centre five years ago. She had observed seniors chatting happily and enjoying themselves at the centre located opposite her block. The homemaker who lives with her children, was then searching for meaningful activities to pass her time. She finally signed up as a member three years ago after much persuasion by centre staff. Soon, Mdm Liew was busy attending the activities and meeting other friendly seniors from neighbouring blocks. In 2021, she responded to the call for volunteers and became a befriender.
Just like Mdm Liew, Ms Lee Choy Yin, 69, joined the centre around the same period. The two seniors clicked right away as they shared many common interests, such as cooking, gardening and volunteering. Their social circle further expanded when they got to know Mdm Lim Gek Huay, 86, in 2021. It was the start of a special friendship and an enriching volunteering journey with TOUCH. Ms Lee and Mdm Liew would go to Mdm Lim’s home to play Bingo every week. They would also have meals, do grocery shopping and celebrate birthdays together.
Caption: Volunteers Miss Lee (left) and Mdm Liew (right) having a lively conversation with TAA staff Ms Denise Liew (middle) as they prepare breakfast for seniors
Caption: Mdm Lim enjoying a healthy meal at a cooking demonstration as part of the Yes2Healthy Life project to encourage seniors to practise healthy food choices
Caption: A sprightly Mdm Lim ready to serve
Caption: Honing artistic skills at TOUCH's Active Ageing Centre at Yishun 162
“Our chemistry is good! We were destined to meet at this centre. We have been living here in Yishun for a while but we have never met. It’s easy for us to do things together because we share the same desire to stay healthy and active,” said Mdm Lim with a smile.
Seniors helping seniors
As befrienders, the three seniors try to support one another’s befriendees. For example, when Mdm Lim’s helper was away for a period and she had to stay at her daughter’s place, Miss Lee and Mdm Liew immediately stepped in to care for befriendee Mdm Toh Theng, 84, who is frail and has poor eyesight. They helped to run errands and buy food for her. As Ms Lee is not fluent with Hokkien, Mdm Liew would help to translate.
Caption: Befriendee Mdm Toh Theng enjoying the warm company of her befrienders
The seniors have also chipped in to contribute food and sponsor items for the Blessed Food Blessed Life project, TAA’s volunteering platform for senior volunteers to support the meal needs of frail seniors.
“I have a heart to serve and I don’t think about my age. Volunteering has given me a greater sense of purpose to touch the lives of others. Many seniors like to carry emotional baggage from the past. But I always tell them not to think of it and to look ahead. I do what I can to bring them hope,” added Mdm Lim.