Lynette Liew's journey with TOUCH began 7 years ago when she first joined TOUCH Home Care (THC) as a Home Personal Care Supervisor, overseeing care arrangements for homebound seniors and seniors who were living alone. As someone passionate about reaching out to the underserved in the community, Lynette wanted to pursue a career in the social service sector despite graduating with a business degree.
“It's not every day you get to do something you love as your profession. Since you will be spending the majority of your waking hours at work, I thought – why not do something meaningful for the community? I'm thankful that TOUCH gave me the opportunity to fulfil my passion and work directly with people who need help,” shares Lynette, who pursued a post-graduate diploma in Social Work with the encouragement from her then supervisor.
Returning to Serve
After graduation, Lynette spent a year at TOUCH Mental Wellness (TMW) as a Social Worker before returning to THC as a Reablement Care Coordinator. She shares, “My passion lies in working with seniors. As they age, they become unheard, unseen and sometimes disrespected. During my time at THC, I was able to see their unique strengths that come with their wealth of lived experiences. I hoped that I could change mindsets among caregivers and the community to see each senior as an asset.”
Caption: Lynette (far left, seated) with the Reablement team.
Started in July 2022, the Reablement Programme, funded by the Tote Board, seeks to promote greater independence and autonomy in the elderly to empower them to live healthier lives. As a Reablement Care Coordinator, Lynette works with a multi-disciplinary team consisting of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and care associates to journey with seniors at risk of functional decline to help them regain confidence to live independently.
Caption: Lynette (left) and Mdm Dilla (right), a Reablement Programme client whom Lynette worked with to rediscover her aspirations and regain her independence.
“Seniors become less confident to manage themselves when they experience a health crisis or loss of a family member. That's when we come in to understand their social, functional and healthcare needs, and set personalised goals aimed at empowering each client to adopt healthy and sustainable behaviours like exercising more, taking medication on time, or expanding their social networks in the community.”
Inspired by Seniors' Strengths
During the past one year, Lynette has seen more than 40 seniors successfully complete their reablement journey. As a programme that focuses on harnessing clients’ strengths and potential, Lynette recalls her journey with 90-year-old Mr Oh Kwee Leong, a client who was determined to get back on his feet despite becoming homebound after a fall and losing his wife.
“Mr Oh's goal was to strengthen his legs and regain confidence to go out. We worked with the physiotherapist to design an exercise programme and he took the initiative to practice on his own at home. His positive attitude despite his old age was inspiring and he was soon able to move around on his own with a walking stick,” shares Lynette, who often bumps into Mr Oh at the coffee shop enjoying his favourite meals.
Journeying with Clients through Thick and Thin
Despite working with elderly clients for many years, Lynette also has her fair share of struggles. Each client has different needs and capabilities, and working with them to introduce healthier habits and change behaviours takes time and patience.
She shares, “When working with seniors, it's important to recognise that it's a journey. Don't give up when they are not receptive or open. If you pace them and do our best to show that we care, the seniors can sense it and will slowly come to trust you.”
Whenever a senior is successfully discharged from the Reablement Programme, Lynette has a sense of satisfaction especially when she sees them actively involved in community programmes run by TOUCH Active Ageing and socially connected with their neighbours.
“It's always a joy to see the community care for one another. When I see seniors regain their independence, I'm glad I played a part in helping them age well in the community so that they can lead meaningful and purposeful lives that can inspire others!”
TOUCH Home Care (THC) aims to help frail elderly enjoy greater independence and better quality of life at home. The Reablement Programme was launched in 2022 as part of THC's efforts to promote greater ownership in the elderly to manage their own health and reduce reliance on care services. This 12-week early intervention programme hopes to proactively restore the elderly's function and empower them to become more independent, confident and enjoy a better quality of life.
Story published in 2023