The Heart Always Remembers
“They have probably known each other for 71 years already!” exclaimed Mr Ng Moi Song as he was speaking of his mother, Mdm Lim Chan Cheng (87 years old) and their long-time family friend, Mdm Yeo Joo Gek (96 years old) who both lived in the same Kampong back in the 1940s. Despite both of them having been diagnosed with dementia, they still vividly remember their Kampong days.
A Reunion of Friendship
Mdm Yeo was referred to St Luke’s ElderCare Chong Pang Centre (SLEC CPC) after a fall while Mdm Lim followed after being discharged from a hospital. It was no coincidence that both of them are at the centre. According to Mr Ng, Mdm Lim’s son, “We heard that Mdm Yeo is at this centre, so we requested to be referred here as she will have an old friend that she could chat with, and she can participate in activities to keep her active.”
Both elders would often reminisce their Kampong days, where everyone was like family to one another. Mr Ng recalls, “We would never close the doors at night as it was very safe!” When there were celebrations, their Kampong comes alive as Mdm Yeo remembers, “I used to make Ang Tou Kueh, a snack that was very popular among my family and all the neighbours”. At the same time, Mdm Lim recalls her love for sewing where she used to make clothes for her children and quilt blankets for all her grandchildren.
From being neighbours, to becoming friends and then, family, both elders’ children also became friends. The sense of affinity and familiarity still lives on despite having left the Kampong.
Caring For Our Elders
Their Kampong days were all about responsibilities and sustaining a livelihood, leaving Mdm Yeo and Mdm Lim to miss out on enjoying leisure activities. However, at SLEC Chong Pang Centre, they have been given many opportunities to engage in them. From finding companionship with others to joining the various interest clubs offered, they have formed their own Kampong community in the centre! Coincidentally, they were also reunited with another neighbour from their Kampong, Mr Ang Jack Kow after more than 50 years. Their affinity allowed them to open up to each other despite their conditions.
In taking a person-centered approach to care for the elders, SLEC first makes an effort to find out more about the elder’s background. “Getting to know the elders and what they used to do is important as we can encourage them to pursue their interests,” shares Ms Jenny Ang, Centre Manager of SLEC Chong Pang Centre. “We then ensure their unique needs are met through our various activities and programmes,” she adds.
Naturally, Mdm Lim joined the sewing club. Despite her long-sightedness and less than steady hands, she could create her own hand sewn pouches and tissue pack holders. She even hopes to contribute them to raise funds during SLEC’s 20th Anniversary Family Carnival in November.
We hope to continue bringing joy to Mdm Lim and Mdm Yeo here at SLEC!
Stories like these that embody the Gotong Royong spirit is what keeps all of us at SLEC going; stay tuned for our next story!