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  • 01 Dec 2016 1:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mama refers to the process of her passing on as "When I say bye bye". She asks me if I will be ok. I told her don't worry, I will be good. We will take one day at a time, when the time comes, it comes, she will close her eyes when she gets too tired, and then she will say go. She and I will both be ok, I reassure her. I realise I have come to enjoy patting her on her back and stroking her forehead. Once upon a time, she used to do that for me. She used to fuss over me, give me water when I cough, cook for me when I am hungry, worry about me. Now its the reverse. Its the cycle of life. Mama and I often joke about it that now, she is my baby and I look after her. We have a bond that is honest and it is based on us spending so much time together in the last 37 years of my life. We have had a lot of time together, we have had holidays and meals, and now we have lots of walks together in her wheelchair, talking about things we see. Sometimes random, sometimes from her memory, but usually just laughing and having a good time. She lives in a  faith based nursing home now, but fundamentally, she has always prayed with joss sticks. At this point, she seems a little confused with what her religion should be. But I tell her, just whatever you are comfortable with, just be at peace. Mama doesn't want us to fuss over her funeral, but she has many friends, so I want to it close to her home, where all our neighbours can come. After all, everyone is old, whats important is for them to be able to say their good byes if she likes. From what I know of grandma, she has always liked conversations, laughter, food, fun. So the funeral should be more like a party, a meeting of friends and family. Perhaps it might be controversial to some, but at the end of the day, birth and death are both celebrations of life. 

  • 15 Nov 2016 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The future nursing home in my opinion is a skilled nursing facility with 24 hour care and high emphasis on rehabilitation and social engagement. We have our own rooms for privacy to be ourselves and decorated according to our own personalities. We are located walking distance to shops, cafes and the community. 

    Residents move in only when they are frail and can no longer perform many of the daily living activities themselves. This might be the last place we will move into before we say "bye bye" to the world. The environment is energetic, engaging and happy. Funding is means tested and ability tested. In addition, it's also supported by private long term care insurance. 

    Plus, facilities that improve health outcomes and physical conditions of the residents receive an annual funding bonus based on a pre-set list of benchmarks. We are old, but we can still be stronger as we age. Just a little slower, but we get there.

    No matter what age we are, we will all have someone that is ageing around us that we care dearly for. But as we age, we need different options and choices too. From independent living for the active and able, to assisted living for those who need more help, skilled nursing for 24 hour care needs, etc. And greater focus on rehab and exercise as an integrated part of daily living and combined with social engagement, not just a segment on the time table. 

    While we are a country great on healthcare and hardware, social isolation and loneliness can be the bigger killer. For those who visit their loved ones regularly in a nursing home, I would encourage you to smile and share some of that time by acknowledging some of the other elderly around you. Take the time to say hi, wave, smile. Small gestures can go along way. Not everyone gets regular visitors, and it does get lonely and boring for many elderly in the homes.

    Recently, a social commentator in Singapore was filmed by Lien Foundation on her experience in living for two weeks in a local nursing home. “I didn’t prepare myself for how bad that actually was.” For 2 weeks, TV presenter Anita Kapoor lived like one of the elderly residents at a nursing home, for an upcoming social documentary. 

    The full  #TalkingPoint episode at http://bit.ly/2fPmJfW

  • 12 Nov 2016 1:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Living in a nursing home, her infections are controlled by oral antibiotics. No intravenous tubes are allowed. Grandma gets oral morphine every four hours to control her pain, and antibiotics tablets pounded into power form for her to consume a few times a day. This helps to manage her infections. We have been managing the infections rather well and keeping them at bay since leaving the hospital. Its been two weeks since she has been off the strong intravenous antibiotics at the hospital and we are surprised too that her body has been strong enough to starve off the infections. Its great! 

    But today, we had a fever scare. I arrived in the morning as usual to find Grandma having breakfast in the common area. She was even asking for an extra egg and she was in good spirits. After breakfast, she even took part in a round of balloon tennis with the rest of the residents. Seeing she was in good spirits, I asked if she would like me to take her for a walk around and to visit her friends at the day centre. She said 'Yes'. Great. I was excited, I love thing her out of her ward area and just to wonder around so that she could experience a change of environment. She had a great time chatting with her friend Lay Ha, and she even took part in another round of ball games. 

    So it was totally unexpected when I found her shivering. Her mouth was chattering, her hands were shaky and her whole body was shaking uncontrollably. I found a care staff to take her temperature, it read 38.2 degrees. Thats when I took her back to her room and had the nurses take over to look after her. Grandma looked really pale and weak and she was still shaky. I was probably turning green inside too. I would like to help her, but there was nothing much I could do except assist with the cold compress. Texted the family of course, updated her condition and kept everyone informed. 

    But who would have guessed, in a short span of two hours, she bounced right back into a healthy glow, regular temperature, regular blood pressure, and she asked for lunch. Wow! She was even receiving visitors and chatting with everyone in her bright and chirpy manner. 

    Every day is indeed a blessing that I appreciate. But its not just about grandma, life is a precious and vulnerable commodity. We should love and live every moment. Grandma's bounce is not just about the power of medicine to fight of infections, but I am sure her mind is stronger than many of us. She loves life. She loves conversations, she loves people around her. Sometimes I would like her to rest more, but then, she has limited time, and talking to people is what she enjoys most. Conversations to her might be better than the best that medicine offers.  

  • 04 Nov 2016 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We try to get Grandma out and about as much as possible. Somedays, she is just too tired, but sometimes we succeed. Today, my aunty got her out of bed and over to the day activity centre where she met her old friends, did some activities, and most importantly, enjoyed time outside of the bedroom.  Although she is getting more tired, being stuck in bed all day is not good for her bedsores, so its really good for her when she is able to get out and just move from bed to wheelchair for a change.

    Fun with balloon tennis 

    Bouncing fitness balls

  • 02 Nov 2016 12:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Grandma loves buying 4D. Although she can't buy the numbers herself now, she tasks my aunty to take down her favourite numbers and to place the bets for her. Buying lottery is probably a national hobby amongst our elders in Singapore. Checking the results when its published three times a week is an important activity.  Aunty found a way to engage grandma by asking her to write down the winning numbers. 

  • 01 Nov 2016 1:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Although we have all come to accept that grandma is going through her end of life journey, nothing really quite prepares us to see her getting weaker. Some days, she looks really really frail, her hands are cold, her feet are cold, and she looks really tired. I am almost reluctant to head home at night, and even when I get home, i wake up often in the middle of the night, checking my phone, making sure its not on silent, and then convincing myself that I am over thinking before I head back to sleep again.  But I guess the great thing about grandma is that her mind is stronger than her body. And when I head back the next day, she is almost like a brand new person. She eats well, she is chatty, energetic and she is filled with life again. She is definitely shrinking, its inevitable, the weight loss, but I bet if we did a brain scan, she is definitely having a very healthy brain. Perhaps its her positive outlook in life that is helping her body over come this very tough period. Bright and optimistic, enthusiastic about life, she is always ready to overcome any challenges ahead. She has been bed ridden for two weeks now, but she is not giving up on her exercises. She is still trying to do what she can, moving her toes, lifting her feet, showing off her many exercise moves with her hands to me. 

  • 28 Oct 2016 4:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spending time having fun and laughing makes the pain go away.

  • 28 Oct 2016 2:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did we know she had cancer? No. We found out only on Oct 13 when she was at A&E and the doctors told us. Did we guess? Yes. Cause she had been experiencing a rapid weight loss over the last few months. Maybe she knew something was wrong, but she didn't really want to get it checked, and we didn't insist either. Grandma has always had an active life, and fully independent. A few years back, she started using a walking stick, but she would still go about her daily activities on her own without help. She would go the near by market and kopitiam to meet her friends, do her hair and nails, every tuesday and thursday, she would volunteer at The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home in Changi, chatting with fellow elderly, exercising with them. I don't think she really knows what volunteer means, but she would start making friends with everyone from the staff to the more chatty elderly who where there with her, and she has a good buddy there, Lay Ha.  Grandma's current frailty and decline is difficult to see as a family member, but, its what I always envision it to be. She would be fit and healthy for as long as possible, the decline would be fast and she would go to sleep. I really wouldn't want her living in a nursing home for the next 10 years of her life. For Grandma, she valued being active, being amongst people and being independent. This was the quality of life she wanted, and she maintained it for as long as she could hold on. 

  • 27 Oct 2016 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Grandma has left most of the medical decisions for the family to decide. But, because she is still mentally sharp and aware, we have been keeping her involved in the major medical and care decisions. From the hospital, we had doctors and family sit with her to explain her condition and help her to understand what was going on, and now that we are in a nursing home, the pastoral care and social work team helped us to take the step further. Today, she was involved in her advanced care planning, sharing with us how she would like to be treated in the event she needed medical assistance, would she want CPR that may lead to an ICU stay, would she want to pass away without medical intervention? How would she like her funeral to be conducted? These are all difficult questions that will face all of us in an ageing population, but we have address them. In a way, grandma is lucky she can make those decisions and when the time comes, we can act according to her wishes. Essentially, she doesn't want pain, no tubes, no injections, no prolonging of her life if she is no longer able to do it herself. I am amazed by her strength as she addressed each of the questions posed in a calm manner, and at times, funny too. eg. Why would I want vegetarian food at the funeral, I don't really like that when I am alive. Or, actually, you guys can decide for me, I won't be around by then. Its just her trying to inject some humour into the situation, but thats her, always laughing, smiling. Having some fun with whatever card that life deals us. Humorously, she told the pastoral care team, would you like me to sign any documents?

  • 26 Oct 2016 2:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We can create fun moments at every corner. This is us at The Salvation Army Peacehaven Changi Nursing Home Thrift Shop. We tried on a pair of glasses and had an impromptu selfie. She laughed when she saw the pic. Absolute kodak moment. The shop opens six days a week. Do drop by to donate or purchase something to support them.

Founder's Blog: Janice Chia 
  • I am often asked why a young person like myself would want to start ASPIRE55? When I first brought up the idea and brainstormed it with fellow co-founder, Yiing Ching (YC), we talked about it with our family members in mind. How would they age, where would they live, what type of activities and services they would need if they were to continue living in their own homes. As such, ASPIRE55 has been and will always be a family oriented village, where we bring our families and friends together, and we welcome new members into the ASPIRE55 family.
    Grandma, then at 80 years old has always been one of my biggest inspirations for my focus on the ageing sector. When I brought her on a cruise recently, she was walking stronger and more steadily than people over 10 years younger than her. Since a year ago, she has been regularly introduced to different activities and new friends. She works out twice a week and she loves chatting with younger friends. When she goes to the park downstairs, she loves practicing English with our Caucasian neighbors.  Something I have learnt is that simply telling our loved ones to go out, go exercise, go make new friends, go take up a new course, does not work. If you care about your them, take the time to accompany them through the first step. Many of our members first visit to our club is accompanied by their friends or family members. Sometimes, all they need is just a little encouragement and support from us when we are trying to get them to try something new.
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