If I were to stay home all day, I think I will become senile, says elderly S'porean

Mr Chew Chong Kee, who completed his double-shot regime in March, is waiting to receive a notification for his booster shot.
Mr Chew Chong Kee, who completed his double-shot regime in March, is waiting to receive a notification for his booster shot.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH, PHILIP CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Staying home the whole day is stifling, said Mr Chew Chong Kee, 72, who prefers to be outdoors.

The retiree, who completed his double-shot regime in March, is waiting to receive a notification for his booster shot.

He goes out at about 11am every day and returns home only at about 10pm. This has been the routine even amid the pandemic.

He told The Straits Times in Mandarin: "If I am alone at home and reduce the time that I go out, what will I become? If I were to stay home all day, I think I will become senile."

Mr Chew, who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arthritis, lives alone. When he goes out, he wears a mask and avoids going to crowded places.

Asked if he is concerned about contracting Covid-19, Mr Chew said that he is already in his 70s and not afraid of falling ill.

"I see life and death as part of a normal process, I am not afraid of death," he added.

Despite the Agency for Integrated Care advisory on Sept 30 for all seniors to stay at home in the next four weeks, eight of the 50 seniors whom ST spoke to said it is tough to be home all day.

Retiree Baldaa Singh feels uneasy staying at home but happy when he is out. He lives alone in a one-room flat in Bukit Merah.

"I like to go out, because I have more freedom when I am outside," said the 66-year-old, who has been fully vaccinated since April. "I don't have a television or anything. So I go out once in a while to watch a movie and go home."

Mr Singh said he has high blood pressure and had one of his kidneys removed due to kidney failure, so he will be seeking his doctor's advice before taking the booster shot.

He does take precautions. He keeps his mask on and, when he goes out, avoids the crowds.

Madam Chan Nguk Ying said she goes out for a walk for at least an hour every day. The 77-year-old, who lives with her son, intends to take the booster shot.

She said: "There was once when I didn't go out and it was so hard to pass the time. It was so stifling."

A business owner who wished to be known only as Mr Lee, 71, said he tries to spend as little time outdoors as possible when he goes out.

Added Mr Lee, who took his booster shot last month: "To be honest, it's quite boring to stay at home. At least when I'm outside, time passes more quickly.

"If I'm at home, I face only the four walls for the whole day and that is quite meaningless.

"If I am outside, I can meet and chat with my friends over coffee, and time would pass very quickly and easily."