Bonding over shared experience

Bonding over shared experience

Caption: Mdm Ng, 82 (second from right) and Mdm Lian, 85, (third from right) taking a leisurely walk near the colonial houses with seniors and staff

“We must always treasure our friends because one day, we may not be able to speak or eat again. When we drink kopi together, everyone is happy."
...Mdm Ng Luan Hway

Octogenarians Mdm Ng Luan Hway and Mdm Lian Soo Lung share a common past. They used to work at the colonial houses nestled in the Sembawang estate some five decades ago, serving as housekeepers and nannies for the British, American and New Zealander soldiers’ families.  

“Soo Lung and I have known each other for so many years. We have been through so much together. I think it’s nice that we are still living in the same neighbourhood till today and remain as good friends. Seeing these colonial buildings makes us reminisce about our past,” says Mdm Ng, who enjoys sharing with others about her past job.

Good friends_Mdm Ng and Mdm Lian
Caption: Mdm Ng (left) and Mdm Lian (right) believe in staying physically and mentally well in their golden years

Enjoying mutual support
Their friendship has been tight all these years, supporting each other through life’s different phases. For example, when Mdm Ng’s husband passed on, she turned to Mdm Lian who readily stepped in to cover her job. Mdm Lian also encouraged Mdm Ng to return to work to keep her mind active after her responsibilities as a caregiver to her grandson eased.

Now in their 80s, the seniors looks radiant and healthy. They are also active participants and volunteers at TOUCHpoint@Wellington 513. A TOUCH staff had approached them at the market some six years ago to invite them to attend the Centre’s activities. Since then, they have attended outings, festive celebrations, exercise sessions, and would sometimes help prepare meals or pack and distribute goodie-bags for needy seniors.

“We must always treasure our friends because one day, we may not be able to speak or eat again. When we drink kopi together, everyone is happy,” adds Mdm Ng. As a health advocate, she also encourages her neighbours to stay fit and invites them to join in the exercise sessions at the centre. “It is important for seniors to socialise. Coming to the Centre is better than staying alone at home.”

TOUCH runs five Active Ageing Centres (AACs) located in Ang Mo Kio, Geylang Bahru, Wellington and Yishun. AACs serve all seniors living within the neighbourhood, and act as a go-to-point to receive timely access to quality care. Our AACs are supported by TOUCH’s trans-disciplinary team of eldercare specialists, leveraging community resources to achieve long-term wellness to prevent and delay frailty, and to help seniors age well in the community.  

Story published in 2024