They helped a senior and her son in stressful situation

(From left) Senior security officer Mariama Ratnasamy, Senior Staff Sergeant Imran Moosa, Ms Scarlett Chong, Ms Carmen Chng and Mr David Tan were among those who readily offered comfort and goodwill during an incident at a mall last week. ST PHOTO: N
(From left) Senior security officer Mariama Ratnasamy, Senior Staff Sergeant Imran Moosa, Ms Scarlett Chong, Ms Carmen Chng and Mr David Tan were among those who readily offered comfort and goodwill during an incident at a mall last week.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

A group of people at a shopping mall came together and helped a man struggling to manage his elderly mother, who had soiled herself.

The incident came to light after one of the good Samaritans, Ms Scarlett Chong, 39, who works in business development, put up a post on Facebook last Wednesday. It had garnered more than 4,100 reactions and 2,200 shares as of 4pm yesterday.

Ms Chong said that she was at Jem shopping mall last Wednesday afternoon for a late lunch and, while going up the escalator, heard a commotion coming from a toilet cubicle for people with disabilities.

Hearing shouts, she went to investigate and found that an elderly woman, who had dementia, had soiled herself, and her son was having trouble managing her, as well as his own composure.

Ms Chong told The Straits Times that a group of people passing by, all of whom were staff of the Don Don Donki discount chain, called the mall's security team for help. The police were also called.

In an effort to find some clean clothes for the woman, Ms Chong approached the nearby Love, Bonito apparel store, where staff member Carmen Chng immediately took a dress off the rack and handed it to her.

Senior security officer Mariama Ratnasamy, 37, and Mr David Tan, 48, senior facilities supervisor from Lendlease, which manages the mall, were in the meantime comforting the woman, who could only converse in Hokkien.

Not able to speak the dialect, Ms Ratnasamy, who is from Henderson Security Services, gently held the woman's arm while Mr Tan joked with her.

Ground Response Force officer Imran Moosa and other police officers who arrived on the scene were able to calm the woman's son, as well as connect with the woman, said Ms Chong.

Senior Staff Sergeant Imran, 37, told The Straits Times that he had experience interacting with seniors who have special needs, as his late father-in-law had suffered a stroke and had dementia in his final years, while his mother-in-law uses a wheelchair.

"I know it can be quite stressful from a caregiver's point of view, and such elderly people can be quite emotional, so a lot of patience is required," he added.

CAREGIVERS NEED CARE TOO

I'm glad this has also helped them to know that there are people out there who are more than willing to help and talk to them. Many times, caregivers might not be aware that they need to be cared for themselves too.

MS SCARLETT CHONG, on how some caregivers had responded to her post about the good Samaritans.

Senior Staff Sgt Imran later paid for the dress.

Ms Chng, 23, a retail associate at Love, Bonito, said that she did not expect the dress to be returned or paid for when she handed it over. "It was a very nice gesture out of goodwill by the police officer," she said.

Ms Chong said she had posted the story on Facebook in the hope that it would reach those who had helped the woman and her son, to show them her appreciation.

She said: "It's the story of how these individuals came together to help. I think they should be celebrated."

Senior Staff Sgt Imran agreed: "Most of the time, Singaporeans are very caring. This shows we have a society that has love and compassion, and it is very comforting to know that many people among us want to lend a helping hand, especially to those who are in need."

Ms Chong noted that caregivers had responded to her post, saying they felt encouraged by it and could identify with the situation.

She said: "I'm glad this has also helped them to know that there are people out there who are more than willing to help and talk to them. Many times, caregivers might not be aware that they need to be cared for themselves too."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2020, with the headline 'They helped a senior and her son in stressful situation'. Print Edition | Subscribe