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Born to serve

Elderly Group

Born to serve

Caption: Audrey (left) receiving the Healthcare Humanity Award (Honourable Mention) from President Halimah Yacob at the award ceremony at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on 26 April 2018

Audrey knows the feeling of loneliness and rejection - having spent four years in a children’s home when her family could not look after her. Her soft spot for seniors deepened when she spent a decade working and living in an old folks home from the age of 17.

Inspired by the dedication of her fellow colleagues, Audrey discovered the power of love in transforming lives. She also served as a volunteer in providing support to family members affected by the collapse of Hotel New World in 1986.

“There are many people out there who have lost hope in life. Sometimes, all they need is a pat on their shoulder and a listening ear. All my life, I have been so blessed to be surrounded by people who have shown sacrificial love to the needy. They are my inspiration,” said Audrey.

Audrey joined TOUCH Home Care (THC) six years ago as a Senior Care Associate (SCA), providing housekeeping and personal hygiene services. These included helping seniors to bathe, trim their nails, cut their hair, sweep and mop the floor, and conduct activities to keep their minds active. Audrey then moved on to become a supervisor, where she took care of scheduling and working with team members to resolve issues on the ground.

In her subsequent and current role as a Therapy Assistant, Audrey plays a pivotal role in providing sustained support to seniors who have completed their three-month therapy sessions. Shadowing THC’s occupational therapists and physiotherapists, Audrey keeps tabs on her seniors’ progress in keeping up with their exercise regimen. As it is common for seniors to have a fear of falling, Audrey provides emotional support and positive reinforcement to help them achieve their desired goals.

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Caption: Since joining TOUCH, Audrey has handled over 300 home personal care cases and some 100 home therapy cases.

“I am thankful for the many opportunities TOUCH has provided to help me grow in my job. It warms my heart to see seniors taking small steps and working hard to regain their mobility. Seeing them getting out of their homes, connecting with residents and enjoying a closer relationship with family members is so satisfying,” added Audrey with a smile.

Audrey always puts herself in the shoes of her seniors. Through experience, she has learnt how to be respectful, such as keeping her seniors informed and getting their consent - first - before proceeding to clean their home or bathe them.

Seniors guard their privacy, so they may find our presence intrusive. They may also be oblivious to the state of their filthy home. They could also be venting their anger due to illnesses or chronic pain. We need to be patient and continue caring for them even when we are being scolded,” said Audrey.

Another challenge Audrey faces at work: convincing seniors of therapy benefits.Many of our seniors see therapy as a costly affair and may resist our efforts to help them. It is good to set common goals. The senior must want it - and believe in it - for therapy to work. I am like their pillar of support, uplifting their spirits when fear or depression sets in,” added Audrey.

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Caption: From left: Mr Kavin Seow (TOUCH Senior Director, Elderly) Group, Ms Audrey Tan (Therapy Assistant), Ms Josephine Koh (Nursing Manager), caregiver Mdm Lily Tan and Mr James Tan (TOUCH CEO) at the awards ceremony.

In recognition of her selfless devotion, Audrey received the Healthcare Humanity Award 2018 (Honourable Mention / Intermediate And Long-Term Care category) at a ceremony on 26 April 2018 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, officiated by President Halimah Yacob, to recognise outstanding healthcare workers.