After interviewing Mdm June (not real name), an elderly living alone, our team has written her story for you.
This is her story.
Mdm June (not her real name) is an elderly living alone in rental flats in Singapore. She is wheelchair bound after meeting with a car accident and going through 4 surgeries. Her condition worsened after she had a fall. She had a husband who passed away after he suffered a stroke. She has 2 children, one daughter and one son. The son was deaf and dumb. She had to bring her son to the doctors for 13 years and he passed away few years back due to 2 blood tumour in the head. Her daughter is now happily married with children.
Her early life
Mdm June stayed in a Chinese school compound as her parents are both teachers. In 1956, she studied English in the morning and Chinese in the afternoon. Her auntie started a home for the deaf, so she was doing administrative works like handling court cases and applying permits. She worked all 7 days a week as she had to bring the income home for her parents since the pay was low for Chinese school teachers back in the 1950s to 1970s. She goes to St Andrew Cathedral (1969) to help out too, to teach the deaf and dumb.
Mdm June faced many difficulties in her early life. She had to work for father and mother-in-law as well as both of her parents as they were sick. With husband suffering from a stroke, she also needed to take care of him. When her son was younger, she had to tend to her son too. However, he was able to support the family once he went to work. Her son was independent and learnt to do a lot of things by himself like learning how to drive.
Though it was not easy, but her family was still happy. They went for outing to places like Sentosa. Simple things like having a meal together with the family during Chinese New Year was also very memorable. Though things have been difficult, they somehow managed.
Her life living alone
Mdm June has to learn to live alone, even with simple things like house chores, it is not easy to do it alone. She finds it tiring but she is able to do it herself nonetheless. Finances is another struggle that many have to face especially since they are unable to work. Her meals are provided by the organisations. Medical bills are expensive but she manages to receive help from Ministers and CDCs where they provide visits and support. Lions Befrienders also help by providing exercises and food such as biscuits and milo, on certain days they even get burgers. Goodie bags are also given sometimes. She has helped in church previously so they are also helping her in ways they can.
Struggles many face
Elderly fear falling. If they fall, they might not be able to get up. Mdm June fell and she was on the floor for 5 minutes, she could not get up. She had to use the sofa, as there was no one to support her up. They may call for help but no one hears. Elderly may also worry about not having enough food and things to get by. Luckily there are organisations that assist and help, there is enough to get by. In the past Singapore society may have bad perception of elderly living alone but right now, so long as you ask for support, you should be able to get them. They will listen to your problems.
For Mdm June, she said that it is evident that people often do not notice you. However, there are those that still care enough to push her to the places she needs to go. Every morning there are people that pushes her to the library. Mdm June finds that the booking of (special) transportation can be a hassle as there are a lot of people waiting to take those transportations. She has learnt to take the taxi too, so it is easier now.
To Mdm June, it would be great if the MP could help more of the poor people. We try to help one another. If someone does not have enough, we will share or let them have some of our share too.
Mdm June wishes for prosperity and good life as well as to help people so that people will help me too. She is also very thankful for what Lions Befriender has done to help her, where she can also take her lessons and join their classes.
Thank you for reading.
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