Loneliness is an overlooked public health challenge in ageing Singapore, as reported in a commentary by Channel News Asia, citing that 39 percent of Singaporeans aged 62 years and older reported being lonely in a nationally representative study by CARE.
Finding a place called home
Mdm. Ng A Hioh, a member of Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre, had moved to Singapore alone after a failed marriage in 1973, leaving her only daughter in Indonesia. She struggled to look for a stable job and ended up taking up multiple odd jobs to ensure that her income was sufficient for her daily needs. After remarriage, she moved into Commonwealth Crescent Block 107 with her current husband in 2007.
The Lonely Senior
Knowing nobody in the neighbourhood, Mdm Ng felt lonely as she did not have friends in Singapore. She missed her daughter in Indonesia and even thought of giving up her marriage and life in Singapore to go back to reunite with her daughter.
Mdm Ng became depressed and confined herself at home after work as she had nowhere to go. It turned worse when her relationship with her husband became unstable. Feeling lost and lonely, Mdm. Ng decided to give Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre (AAC) a try when a staff member reached out to her in 2012.
Mdm. Ng joined Fei Yue AAC (then Senior Activity Centre) located at Commonwealth in 2012 as a member. She was initially shy and afraid to make friends with the seniors in the centre. Sensing her shyness, staff introduced her to the seniors in the centre and encouraged them to play games (such as Rummy’O) together.
Even though she has work commitments, Mdm. Ng comes to the centre every day to use the centre facilities such as reading newspapers, exercising and games.
Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre (Commonwealth) (Formally known as CWSAC) provided a platform for her to rest after a long day of work and helped her regain a social life. As Mdm. Ng does not understand English, she would often seek the help of Fei Yue staff in reading letters or making or rescheduling appointments. She now feels more secure knowing that she will be able to turn to Fei Yue in times of need.
Finding a place like home in Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre
Today, Mdm. Ng A Hioh no longer confines herself at home after work and commits herself to joining in the activities for seniors in the AAC. She is socially active and can be seen smiling every time she visits the centre. She enjoys involving herself in the activities and using the facilities in the AAC. Mdm. Ng has also made many friends in the AAC and is able to turn to them when she faces issues in life.
Mdm. Ng is thankful to the staff and Fei Yue Active Ageing Centre at Commonwealth is just like her second home. She now has a positive outlook on life with the support of staff and her friends in the centre.
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Fei Yue Active Ageing Centres (AAC)
At Fei Yue Active Ageing Centres (AAC), we proactively reach out to seniors, organise social activities and provide opportunities for seniors to interact with members of the community, with the aim of enabling seniors to adopt an active lifestyle, pre-empt social isolation, and refer them to assistance in a timely fashion.
Our objective is to improve the health outcomes of seniors living in the community through the provision of a suite of programmes to help seniors live healthier lives and support their aspirations to age in place.Read Up more about Fei Yue Active Ageing Centres (AAC) here.