Journeying together

Journeying together

Caption: TOUCH staff David (left) explaining to Mdm Liew (right) government grants for caregivers

"I am so glad I did not miss the chance to apply for the caregiving grant. It has helped to ease our financial worries as my husband is the sole breadwinner. All thanks to David who diligently followed up on my application status."

Mdm Sim Boon Tin, 82, used to attend the activities at TOUCH’s active ageing centre in Wellington despite having weak legs and balance issues.

However, two years ago, Mdm Sim’s health deteriorated, affecting her mobility. As walking became increasingly challenging despite using a market trolley, Mdm Sim started staying indoors and became homebound.

Her daughter-in-law Mdm Liew Siew Lan, 61, grew worried as Mdm Sim struggled to do simple daily tasks like toileting, showering and dressing. Mdm Liew and her husband have been living together with Mdm Sim for the past 30 years. 

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Caption: Being there for each other through thick and thin – Caregiver Mdm Liew and her mother-in-law Mdm Sim

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Caption: Mdm Sim (left) with her good friend Mdm Tan Loo Geok (right) enjoying their time at the centre

“I was sad to see my mother-in-law losing her ability to walk. She used to lead an active and independent life. She also has many friends. But it can get stressful as she tends to feel giddy and is prone to falls. This can be dangerous,” added Mdm Liew.

When Mdm Sim started using a wheelchair to move around, Mdm Liew struggled to push it as she did not have the strength. “I am not young myself. Sometimes I wonder what will happen to me in the future if my health fails,” said Mdm Liew

Navigating caregiver resources
Mdm Liew received help from TOUCH in applying for the Enhancement for Active Seniors programme so that grab bars could be installed to improve safety at home. Although Mdm Sim stopped coming to the centre, TOUCH staff Mr David Ng, continued to keep in touch with the family. He would call often to see how they were doing. 

Recently, David also shared with Mdm Liew the Home Caregiving Grant, administered by the Agency for Integrated Care, which will help defray the cost of caring for a loved one at home. Upon hearing about this new scheme, Mdm Liew was relieved. However, as she could not read English, she encountered administrative issues. When David found out, he continued to work with her to resolve them.

“Initially, I almost gave up as I am not good with IT matters. I am already so busy and I do not have the time to make calls. I am so glad I did not miss the chance to apply for the caregiving grant. It has helped to ease our financial worries as my husband is the sole breadwinner. We are already spending more on medical expenses and diapers for my mother-in-law. All thanks to David who diligently followed up on my application status,” added Mdm Liew.

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Caption: TOUCH Active Ageing (Wellington) centre manager Ms Sandy Goh building rapport with Mdm Liew and Mdm Sim

Mdm Liew looks forward to the day Mdm Sim can feel strong enough to re-join the centre’s activities with help from volunteers. “I am grateful to have a TOUCH centre in my neighbourhood. I would be at a loss if I did not receive any help. My husband is also very happy. We know whom we can turn to for help in the future,” added Mdm Liew.

For enquiries on caregiver or elderly-related issues, please call TOUCH Care Line at 6804 6555 (Mon to Friday, 9am to 5pm).