More than a befriender-befriendee relationship
After being approached by a staff from Fei Yue Community Services, 66-year-old Madam Renuka Devi Ratty joined a Community Befriender Programme as a befriender in November 2016. Through interaction, this programme seeks to keep seniors’ loneliness and isolation at bay. Having moved to Commonwealth only in February 2016, this programme had certainly widened Madam Ratty’s social circle in her new community.
Madam Ratty joined the programme as she enjoys socialising and finds spending time with other seniors very meaningful. She feels that being a senior herself should not stop her from giving back to the community. Her decision was supported by both of her children. In Madam Ratty’s opinion, volunteering as a befriender has helped to keep her physically and mentally active.
One senior who had been positively impacted by Madam Ratty’s act of kindness is Madam Francis, a befriendee of Madam Ratty. It was during last February when both ladies first met. Prior to meeting Madam Ratty, Madam Francis had no friends and spends her day watching television. Despite her children requesting for her to move in with them, Madam Francis continues to stay in her own flat. After all, this flat was bought by her late husband and therefore, especially significant to her.
Madam Francis is always looking forward to Madam Ratty’s twice-a-month visits. Perhaps an instant connection, the usually shy Madam Francis was able to connect with Madam Ratty right from her first visit. Through the visitations, Madam Francis’ daughter finds her mother becoming more cheerful. From updating Madam Ratty on the latest Tamil drama serial that Madam Francis enjoys to sharing about her childhood stories in India, time spent between both ladies is never dull. In fact, their befriender-befriendee relationship has since progressed with Madam Ratty now addressing Madam Francis as Akka, which means elder sister in Tamil.
If you would like to be a befriender like Madam Renuka Devi Ratty to help others, check out the details at the Council for Third Age, C3A website http://www.c3a.org.sg/volunteerism/
Source: Council for Third Age, C3A