'Silent Night' for lonely seniors

Being a widowed senior citizen who has lost key social support, I share the sentiments expressed by Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng ("Vital to help seniors feel connected with society; Dec 19).

Seniors who have experienced unconditional love from their late spouses and lack community support are bound to fall into depression as they feel a huge vacuum in their lives.  

Within the four walls of our homes, many of us are suffering in silence, as there are too many painful memories of our loved ones.  

This sense of being uncared for intensifies for Christians when Christmas comes around as lonely seniors see families and friends in joyous celebration. 

This is when our vulnerable citizens have to experience a "Silent Night".  

During a home visit last month, my Member of Parliament, Dr Koh Poh Koon, felt my loss, gave me some FairPrice vouchers for Christmas and directed his grassroots leader to place me on the list of vulnerable citizens.  

I was deeply touched by Dr Koh's generosity and this must surely be the behaviour all MPs can emulate. 

Churches, too, have an important role to play in supporting their Christian seniors. Their volunteers can visit our lonely elderly and spread the joys of Christmas through carolling and simple gifts.

The Government can help the elderly poor through the Silver Support Scheme, while the Ministry of Health could lower the qualifying age for subsidies for seniors, as medical costs are a concern for many retired Singaporeans.

Raymond Anthony Fernando