From Friends to Befrienders

Madam Ng Geok Thuay and Madam Wong Yoke Hun, both 64, are not only friends but also volunteers from the Community Befriending Programme under Presbyterian Community Services. The two first met through a karaoke singing group back in 2009, and only got closer three years later, after Madam Wong attended the activities organised by Friends of the Third Age in 2013 under Madam Ng’s encouragement.

Through the volunteering activities including visitations to old folks’ homes, Madam Wong soon became interested in volunteering. She found herself becoming more conscientious and calm after interacting with the other seniors. On the other hand, Madam Ng is motivated to interact with the elderlies after feeling regretful for not spending much quality time with her late mother.

The two volunteers were alerted to Madam Tan Ah Hiang’s situation when a concerned neighbour approached the Community Befriending Programme for help.

At the age of 76, Madam Tan fell into a rut due to discomfort in her knee and poor vision as a result of cataracts. Since then, her life spiralled into depression as she started facing difficulties in her role as the main caregiver for her daughter who had suffered from a stroke 20 years ago. She also began to withdraw herself from the people around her due to their discouraging words.

Initially, it was difficult for the two befrienders to get Madam Tan to open up. But their patience and kindness were finally paid off when Madam Tan gradually warmed up to them and shared her feelings. Now, Madam Tan enjoys and looks forward to Madam Ng’s and Madam Wong’s visits. Although visitations happens on a fortnightly basis, Madam Tan is always prompting the both of them to visit her whenever possible.

Madam Wong was touched by how they are welcomed by Madam Tan and how happy Madam Tan is during their visits. She is also glad that both of them are able to ease Madam Tan’s stress by letting her express herself freely.

Not seeking anything in return, the dedication and effort from volunteers such as Madam Ng and Madam Wong is truly admirable.

If you would like to be a befriender like Madam Ng Geok Thuay and Madam Wong Yoke Hun 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