Caption: Mdm Tan Sow Meng (left), 73, with her son Mr Glenn Poh (right), 43, at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433
"I’m now more aware of caregiving resources, and I enjoy learning from the experiences of other caregivers. I am also happy to see my mother spending her time meaningfully at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433. Being able to contribute to the caregivers community has been fulfilling; I try to help out whenever I can."
Ang Mo Kio resident Mr Glenn Poh became a full-time caregiver to his mother Mdm Tan Sow Meng last year when she was diagnosed with dementia. The 43-year-old was then managing his own IT start-up. As the only child, Glenn enjoys a close relationship with his mother. His father passed on two decades ago after a bad fall at home.
It was a challenging period for Glenn, who had to take on a suitable job with flexible hours so that he could care for his mother 24/7. During this period, his friend who also lives in Ang Mo Kio, encouraged him to join TOUCHpoint@AMK 433 to keep Mdm Tan meaningfully occupied, as well as to receive support.
Glenn was introduced to CREST TOUCH @ Cheng San-Seletar in 2022 – a mental wellness programme developed by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and the Ministry of Health, and organised by TOUCHpoint@AMK 433, an Active Ageing Centre (AAC) under TOUCH.
The Community Outreach Team CREST or Community Resource, Engagement and Support Team and AAC staff, conducted cognitively stimulating activities for Mdm Tan to keep Mdm Tan meaningfully engaged. She also started joining activities like exercise and art and craft sessions at the centre. The CREST team also supported Glenn with information and resources about dementia, provided emotional support and linked him up with other caregivers via Carers’ Circle, a support group set up by TOUCHpoint@AMK 433.
As a first-time caregiver being thrust into the demanding role of caring for a parent with dementia, he learnt about the different stages of dementia, as well as the services and amenities in his neighbourhood that can support persons living with dementia.
“It helps to talk to others. Taking short breaks and learning from the experiences of other caregivers have been therapeutic. My mother benefits too. If she stays at home, she tends to sleep more,” said Glenn.
Caption: Glenn and Mdm Tan painting together at a support group session
Caregiving resources at your fingertips
Caption: Receiving the Community Living Resource at Walk2Remember Walkathon 2022
On 17 September 2022, both Glenn and Mdm Tan took part in the second edition of Walk2Remember Walkathon organised by the Ang Mo Kio Partners’ Network together with Ang Mo Kio residents at Bishan Ang-Mo-Kio Park.
The Community Living Resource – a guide for caregivers in Ang Mo Kio – was also launched at the event. Commenting on the guide, Glenn added, “I no longer need to search all over to find the information that I need and that’s good. I have also learnt a lot on the different stages of dementia, as well as the services and amenities in my neighbourhood that can support people with dementia. This knowledge will also help me in my future planning and decision making.”
Giving back to the community
Glenn has also stepped up to help plan the activities for Carers’ Circle, including tapping on his expertise to share with other caregivers on how technology can assist them, and sharing ways to generate supplementary income while caring for their loved ones. He has also volunteered to join the CREST team in their outreach efforts.
Caption: Glenn (second from left) leveraging his experience in the IT industry to share insights with caregivers
Caption: Glenn and Mdm Tan (middle) flanked by TOUCH staff at the National CARE Carnival at Kampung Admiralty
Glenn also receives help from Care Line, TOUCH’s helpline for caregivers. He is also a member of TOUCH's Facebook and Telegram caregiver support group community.
“I’m thankful to receive firm support from the CREST team and Carers’ Circle. I’m now more aware of caregiving resources, and I enjoy learning from the experiences of other caregivers. I am also happy to see my mother spending her time meaningfully at TOUCHpoint@AMK 433. Being able to contribute to the caregivers community has been fulfilling; I try to help out whenever I can," added Glenn.
For enquiries on elderly or caregiving-related issues, please call Care Line at 6804 6555 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm).
Story published in 2022
Updated in 2023