Volunteering in silver years can be gratifying

Life is not always easy for Mdm Theresa Toh. As a single parent, she had to work hard to support and take care of her family of three. And when her younger sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia 23 years ago after the death of her older brother, she became her sole caregiver. As such, she had to give up on certain things she wanted to pursue in life, one of which is volunteering.

Dedicating her time to volunteering

However, the retired army warrant officer now devotes part of her time to volunteering despite still needing to take care of her younger sister and two of her grandchildren. When asked about how she juggles her time between volunteering and taking care of her sister and her grandchildren, she revealed that it is all about time management.

As a community befriender

Since 2013, she has been a volunteer under Fei Yue Family Service Centre, and two years ago, she signed up as a befriender when Fei Yue started the Community Befriending Programme. Through the Befriending Programme, volunteer befrienders like Mdm Toh will visit seniors in their neighbourhood on a regular basis to keep loneliness and social isolation at bay. Till date, Mdm Toh has a total of 6 befriendees. She visits and calls them on a bi-monthly basis, providing companionship and emotional support for her befriendees. At times, she will also help to explain government policies or schemes and render assistance to her befriendees when needed.

Giving can be rewarding

Mdm Toh started volunteering because she always wanted to contribute back to society and she firmly believes in the cycle of giving and receiving. She feels that the act of giving is rewarding and hopes to inspire others to continue to spread kindness and pay it forward to keep the cycle of giving and receiving going.

Also, volunteering has changed her perspective on life as she comes in contact with people from all walks of life and of different backgrounds. The shift in attitude opened her mind to what is truly important and showed her that how much less one can have and still find reasons to be happy.

Consequently, Mdm Toh finds that volunteering is meaningful and fulfilling. She intends to continue volunteering as long as she can so that she is able to make a difference in the lives of others while staying active in her silver years.

**If you would like to be a befriender like Mdm Toh to help others, check out the various volunteering opportunities available here