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Singapore

 

Helping others gives needy elderly a boost

It helps lift their confidence; idea catching on with groups here

Published on Apr 14, 2014 8:43 AM
 
Residents of AWWA Community Home for Senior Citizens learning taiji with the help of volunteers from OCBC Bank. The residents will in turn impart the moves to others in need. -- PHOTO: OCBC

After caring for her ailing brother for a decade, Madam Wee Ah Bee sank into depression when he died from a stroke six years ago and her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

"I felt useless as there wasn't anything more for me to do," said Madam Wee, who then spent most of her time cooped up in a one-room rental flat in Geylang Bahru with her husband.

She recovered after six months of counselling by social workers from the nearby Touch Seniors Activity Centre and Institute of Mental Health, and later decided to channel her energies into helping others.

Now 71, she visits frail and lonely seniors in her estate every week and accompanies them on medical appointments, under a programme piloted six months ago, in which elderly beneficiaries are trained in befriending work.

 
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