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“A Story of True Love”

“One of the first elderly residents “(‘Uncle Tan’) I visited lives with his helper, as his wife was recently diagnosed with dementia. He had reluctantly brought her to live in a nursing home so she could be cared for by professional healthcare workers. It was truly a tough decision for him to make.

Uncle Tan’s care and love for his wife goes so far that he refuses to go for his family’s reunion dinners because he can’t bear to eat the well-prepared delicacies while his wife is stuck in a nursing home with perhaps less tasty meals. As he was talking to us, I could clearly see his eyes welling up…

Uncle Tan told me that he continues to visit his wife daily, without fail.”

– One of our volunteers, reflecting on his card distribution with Montfort GoodLife! and Hey, You’ve Got Mail!

Cedar-Aruna

Aruna’s Story

Where is my ah girl?

The last time she came to visit, she gave me her old phone, and told me to call her whenever I want. But when I press the numbers on the screen, it says ‘wrong passcode’. I entered in correctly, right? I followed the eight numbers she scrawled on the back of a Toto* ticket. She said she will ring, but there is always no sound. Maybe she is busy earning a lot of money now, and is working hard for me.

Reflection: I wrote this from the perspective of many elderly in Singapore’s status quo; and I myself am no stranger to such a reality. With the increasing emphasis on respecting and nurturing our seniors, these kindly octogenarians are but still neglected behind the comforting veil of community work that clouds our vision. To many elderly; even we ourselves are aware, the only memory they hold is of their pining and longing for their loved ones — whereas we cannot care less until they are no more. As much as we even try or pretend to care (as can be seen by the ah girl in this story giving her aged mother her old phone), we, deep down, are not always 100% sincere about it (the ah girl not teaching her mother how to use the phone past the lockscreen). Even so, our predecessors always assume the best of us, and wait patiently for our prodigal return, even past their last breath.

kennydad-1

Kenny’s Story

My grandfather was estranged from his son, my dad but in my growing up years, my grandfather maybe due to his old age, made a decision to mend the fences with his son before it was too late. But he was also a very proud Chinese traditional man, born in the 1930s. Naturally, I became a convenient “excuse” in a good way for him wanting to visit his grandson every week at our 2-room HDB apartment but it was also an opportunity for him to visit his son. We lived at the end of the long stretch of the HDB block, and my grandfather can never remember which unit we stayed in. So he did the next best thing. From the start of the common corridor stretch, he’d call out my name until he reached the audible distance of our unit, and either myself or my dad / mom would pop out to get him. Knowing he made this weekly effort to reconcile with his son, it has taught me that humanity is a lesson in progress.