“Will be able to take of me when I grow old”, said my mum, as she sitting on her favorite chair drinking coffee … telling me stories.
A couple of years ago I visited my mum in the nursing that she was in. It was a long way far south of England. The nursing home was two terrace building nestled over a very beautiful lush garden. Very tranquil and quite. From time to time I regularly visited my mum. We enjoyed a few laughs and lots of happy moments.
Most of us who have old parents are having the same issue. During my recent research, I found out some interesting facts of caring old parents and how they are coping with it.
1. Some elderly prefer to keep to themselves.
3. The visually impaired prefer not to allow any Tom, Dick or Harry into their flat unless they trust the person. Once, a senior, who has since died, told me about a “kind-hearted” neighbour who entered his flat on the pretext of helping him buy food and groceries. But subsequently the senior realised that money hidden under his pillow had been stolen.2. Some do not wish to trouble others as they feel “paiseh” (Hokkien for embarrassed).
4. When visiting the visually impaired, never move any furniture in the flat as this will be an obstacle for them. 5. Volunteers who visit the elderly regularly can consider sticking a chart on the door. For example, a volunteer homecare nurse who visited can just write his or her name and mobile number against the date of visit. A glance at the chart allows us to know how many days the senior has been left alone and who last visited him.
As our population ages, it is not surprising that there will be more people who die alone. We should study the demography and find ways to prevent that from happening again.
There are many reasons people are not discovered quickly upon passing. They may be childless or their children live far away. They may be physically and mentally disabled or are loners with small social networks. Singapore must ensure there is no erosion of traditional values of caring for the elderly. We need to change the mindset of the young that caring for their elderly parents is a duty and not a choice.
Getting your parent to hang up the car keys permanently is as tricky as grabbing an angry tiger by the tail then wondering how you can safely let go and remain unscathed. After all, driving is one of the last forms of independence, autonomy, and … Caring for elderly parents: Do the car keys have an expiration date? – Examiner.com
One of the biggest causes of the elderly dying alone is social isolation. The state could do more to share information with volunteer social workers, police and resident committees so that lonely seniors have a greater support network.
Finally, businesses and charities could do their part to help meet the needs of the elderly, such as providing food delivery services. More should also be done to encourage the sale of products such as mobile phones with pedometers to detect mobility.