She is not family but Mdm Foo Han Lee, 72, has been the sole caregiver to 93-year-old Mdm Wong Yoke Liong for many years. The two depend on each other, despite not being related.
Mdm Wong sustained a hip fracture and grapples with a host of health conditions including high blood pressure, gout, arthritis and inflammation of the gall bladder. She does not have any living relatives and relies on Mdm Foo.
“She was a loving and patient nanny who took good care of me when I was a child. Now that she is old, it is my turn to take care of her. This is only right,” said Mdm Foo, who devotes much of her time to care for Mdm Wong.
Some years ago, Mdm Foo decided to admit Mdm Wong into a nursing home after the latter’s discharge from the hospital as she was not confident of taking care of Mdm Wong. But, Mdm Wong became sad and downcast while at the nursing home. Mdm Foo was filled with guilt for her decision. After a month at the nursing home, Mdm Foo eventually brought Mdm Wong home. However, caregiving was physically and mentally stressful for the 72-year-old.
Things changed for the better after Mdm Wong enrolled at SPD@Toa Payoh. While Mdm Wong attends day care and undergoes therapy at the centre from Mondays to Fridays, Mdm Foo gets some respite and runs errands and catches up with her ex-colleagues and friends. This has helped to relieve her of some caregiving stress.
On Mdm Wong’s part, she has become more sociable and participates actively in activities at the centre. “I feel happy even if it is just sitting around. I love to chit-chat and joke with my new friends here,” said Mdm Wong. Therapy has also made her stronger and less dependent on Mdm Foo. “Previously I could not walk as my legs were very weak. Now I can use a walking frame!” she exclaimed.
“It’s hard to believe that both of them are not related by blood. Before meeting these two seniors, I didn’t believe in giving without expecting anything in return, but now I do. The close bond they share and the way they communicate with each other are as if they are mother and daughter,” said Bernie Lee, case management associate.
Give Them and Others Like Them Your Support
Mdm Foo and Mdm Wong get by on Mdm Foo’s limited savings and Mdm Wong receives full subsidies for the services she receives at the centre. They are among many low-income families who receive help from SPD, enabling them to be more independent and to have a better quality of life.
Please give them your support and help transform lives. Make a difference today at www.spd.org.sg/get-involved/donation-methods/.
(Photos: SPD Charity Show 2019)