Caption: Madam Tan is currently supported by Care Close to Home and TOUCH Senior Activity Centre
Madam Tan Ah Kim may be 87 years old and almost blind but she still attends the activities at TOUCH Senior Activity Centre (TSAC) at Geylang Bahru. Despite her visual constraints, Mdm Tan is able to navigate her way to the centre located downstairs by relying on the shadowy outlines of her surroundings.
“I enjoy talking to the centre staff. They are like family to me. Although I can’t see their faces, it is so comforting just to hear their voices. They are very caring and helpful,” said Mdm Tan.
Widowed some 20 years ago, Mdm Tan still has three sons and two daughters who do not live with her. She has weathered adversities in life, including depression when one of her sons had to be admitted to a nursing home and recently passed on due to illness. “I miss my son. It pains my heart to see him there. I am grateful to the volunteers who brought me to visit him,” said Mdm Tan, her eyes welled up with tears.
Caption: Mdm Tan is grateful to TOUCH for enabling her to continue staying in the familiarity of her home in Geylang Bahru.
For the past 17 years, TSAC staff have walked alongside Mdm Tan, supporting her emotionally each step of the way. Through TSAC, Mdm Tan learnt the importance of exercise. She used to attend TSAC’s morning exercises together with some 30 other seniors until two years ago when her vision deteriorated further. “I always make it a point to exercise. It will make me stronger. This is why I mop the floor and scrub my toilet every day; it is like exercising. I am very particular about cleanliness, and I want my home to look clean and my toilet to smell good,” said Mdm Tan proudly.
In recent years, although Mdm Tan’s knee joints have become weaker, she still prefers to clean her home on her own. To help her further, TSAC placed her with Care Close to Home (C2H) last year. A nurse would visit her twice a week to check on her medication and vital signs, and remind her about her medical appointments. She was also recently attached to a befriender under TSAC’s Seniors Caring for Seniors project. Volunteers Mdm Ng Mui Tiang, 77 and Mdm Helen Lim, 67, would visit Mdm Tan every week to chat with her and find out her needs.
Mdm Tan also looks forward to the outings organised by TSAC. For example, under the I-Shop-U-Pay programme, corporate volunteers would bring seniors out for a stroll by the Kallang Riverside, followed by breakfast at the coffeeshop and grocery shopping. “I can’t really see so I dare not go out. I do not like to trouble anyone. This is why I am very grateful to all the kind volunteers for remembering seniors like me,” added Mdm Tan.