Caption: Mdm Dilla (right) with Ms Lynette Liew (left), TOUCH’s reablement coordinator
“The TOUCH team worked with me to set goals that matter to me. For example, I told them my goal is to be able to walk further to the neighbourhood shops to run errands and get my own healthy ingredients for my meals. I hope to stay fit and socially active again."
Mdm Dilla’s world fell apart when her husband passed on in February 2022. The 72-year-old homemaker had been his sole caregiver as he suffered from various medical conditions a decade ago.
In spite of her husband's poor health, they were socially active and Madam Dilla could attend activities at TOUCHpoint@Yishun 162. However, a fall in 2021 led to an abrupt change in her routine. Mdm Dilla started to rely on her husband to buy food every day. Her legs were in constant pain. However, not long after, her husband’s health deteriorated. Mdm Dilla’s caregiving responsibilities got tougher when he became bedbound. She felt emotionally and physically drained.
“I felt depressed. I was not used to confronting my problems alone. My husband was always there for me. We were close,” said Mdm Dilla. “As I had difficulties walking, I did not have the confidence to go out alone. I was also depending on people to run errands for me.”
The courage to move on
After a few months of her husband’s passing, TOUCH reablement coordinator Ms Lynette Liew approached Mdm Dilla to understand her aspirations and shared about the Reablement Programme funded by the Tote Board. Initiated in July 2022, this care approach seeks to promote greater independence and autonomy in the elderly, to empower them to live more active and healthier lives. Supported by care professionals, seniors receive personalised coaching and training to increase their ability and confidence to age well, and age-in-place.
“When my husband was no longer around, it caused me to think long and hard about my wishes in life. I knew I had to do a reset. I was so busy caring for others that I did not have time for myself, to do the things I enjoy. I recalled how happy I was to be in the company of the seniors at the centre. We did things together like drawing and painting. It was fun! I was prepared to do what it takes to recover quickly,” added Mdm Dilla.
Caption: Mdm Dilla (left) regaining her confidence in run errands in the neighbourhood with help from physiotherapist Ms Emmeline Gay (right)
Caption Mdm Dilla (middle) catching up with neighbours at a nearby coffeeshop
“One thing I have learnt from TOUCH is to believe that I can get better. The TOUCH team worked with me to set goals that matter to me. For example, I told them my goal is to be able to walk further to the neighbourhood shops to run errands and get my own healthy ingredients for my meals. I hope to stay fit and socially active again,” said Mdm Dilla.
With personalised coaching, Mdm Dilla can now get her own groceries, plan and cook nutritious meals, resume her online and physical art sessions at the centre, get reconnected with her art instructor, meet friends and go out with her extended family members beyond her neighbourhood. She also takes part in the weekly exercise sessions at the centre with encouragement from her friends.
Caption: Mdm Dilla now leads an enriching and purposeful life
Caption: TOUCH’s Reablement team works with the elderly and caregivers to increase independence and reduce reliance on care services
Ready to serve
With renewed confidence, Mdm Dilla is able to reach out to vulnerable seniors, including her frail neighbour. She would watch out for her and help her call a cab for her medical appointments. The centre staff also connected Mdm Dilla with more neighbours so that they can continue to mutually support one another.
In June 2023, Mdm Dilla readily agreed to become a volunteer by making calls to seniors to encourage them to attend the centre’s activities. She also helps to pack birthday gifts for seniors. To prevent newspapers from going missing when the centre is closed, Mdm Dilla agreed to have them delivered to her home. She would then bring them down to the centre every day. Whenever help is required, Mdm Dilla makes every effort to support the centre’s needs.
Caption: Mdm Dilla making calls to seniors at TOUCHpoint@Yishun 162
“I feel great! Now that I am a volunteer, my life has more purpose. I will continue to contribute as long as I am able. I am grateful to the centre staff as they have helped me greatly,” said Mdm Dilla.
For more enquiries on TOUCH's Reablement Programme, please call 6661 0829.
Story published in 2023