Spreading festive cheer to the elderly at Swami Home

The Sunshine Welfare Action Mission (Swami) Home in Sembawang was full of festive cheer on Saturday, as Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan gave out mandarin oranges and red packets filled with $10 each to some 230 elderly residents there.

Along with grassroots leaders from Sembawang GRC, Mr Khaw visits the Swami Home residents annually before Chinese New Year, to spread the new year cheer. Among the residents of the home were three centenarians - two of them, Madam Ng Pek Hah and Madam Tham Gan Kew, both 101, were presented a gift by Mr Khaw. The third, 100-year-old Tan Ah Choy, was not present as she was in the hospital.

Madam Ng, who has been staying at the home since 1997, said she feels most happy when her children - two sons and one daughter - visit her. This year, the red packets and mandarin oranges were donated by vice-chairman of Sembawang's Citizen Consultative Committee Phua Lam Soon. Mr Phua said he hopes a nursing home will be built within the Sembawang division. "It will be good to have a nursing home in the area, near to the residents' homes. It will be more convenient for family members to visit them too," said the chief executive of a construction company.

Sembawang GRC is made up of five divisions. Currently, there are two nursing homes within the GRC - Orange Valley in Marsiling and Man Fut Tong in Woodlands - but none within the Sembawang division.

Swami Home at Sembawang Walk is located within Nee Soon GRC. But Sembawang grassroots leaders have been visiting residents at the home since when it was previously under Sembawang GRC, they continue to keep up the tradition till today.

Swami Home has a capacity of 242, with 50 reserved for elderly patients with dementia. About 90 per cent of its residents come from low-income backgrounds, and receive government subsidies, said the home's president Yap Boon Phye.

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