A listening ear and a strong support
78-year-old Madam Lim Rui Yong went through a difficult period after her husband passed away last year. The once sociable lady found it hard getting over her loss and started withdrawing herself. As she still could not accept the reality of her husband’s passing, she chose to shut herself from the outside world and even avoided her neighbours.
Things only took a turn for Madam Lim when 64-year-old Madam Tan Guek Kew, a volunteer under the Community Befriending Programme, befriended her. Under the Community Befriending Programme, senior volunteers befriend other seniors to keep loneliness and isolation at bay. It was only after much encouragements from her neighbour and friend, who is also a befriendee of Madam Tan, did Madam Lim decide to open her house to Madam Tan.
Madam Lim gradually opened up to her new friend and Madam Tan has since become a strong support to her. Besides comforting and encouraging her, Madam Tan also lends Madam Lim a listening ear. Madam Lim recounted that she had very negative thoughts after her husband died. However, after befriending Madam Tan who also encouraged her to participate in a morning exercise group and to pick up new skills by signing up for courses, she feels that there is much for to live for now.
While Madam Tan enjoys her volunteer work, she feels that she lacks the confidence and used to have social anxiety. She overcame her insecurities after attending courses on active ageing at YAH!. Madam Tan had learned much about active ageing and felt that it gave her a new lease of life. She was able to communicate and connect with others and realised as a senior herself, she can still contribute to the society and help other seniors.
She is also a volunteer befriender under the Goodlife! community outreach programme and visits each of the seniors she is assigned to twice each month. Befriending other seniors has not only brought happiness and fulfilment to Madam Tan but also, made a difference to the people around her. Indeed, acts of kindness would always go a long way!
If you would like to be a befriender like Madam Tan Guek Kew 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