Video message from Dr John Beard, Director for Life Course and Ageing Department, World Health Organization, at the ComSA Forum 2017 on Friday, 18 August. Watch here.
Success Story #1:
Mr Teng Seng Chye was first referred to ComSA team on April 2015. He has dementia and chronic medical conditions. The 75-year-old single man lives alone in his rental flat and has retired from his hawker assistant job some time back. He relies on his seven siblings financially but support from his siblings is limited as they are all old and retired, and have their own family commitments. Preferring to keep to himself, Mr Teng rarely ventures out of Whampoa. Despite having poor medical compliance, personal hygiene and home environment, Mr Teng insists that he does not need help. The siblings are also stressed and confused by Mr Teng’s behaviours. For example Mr Teng will forget what his siblings instructed him to do while the siblings cannot understand that his personal hygiene was aggravated by the state of his dementia.
ComSA team took on the case and introduced many interventions, such as making regular appoints for Mr Teng to ComSA primary care clinic in Whampoa and connecting Mr Teng to a day care centre. Today, Mr Teng has regular check-ups and monitoring from the same clinic and registers better medicine compliance and conditions. With good day care services, significant improvement can be seen in his overall hygiene and Mr Teng’s social engagement has improved – he is now more open to proactively talk to people. He is able to go to toilet on his own and there are improvements to his overall home environment. His siblings feel more supported and express less caregivers’ stress. Additional aids procured from other agencies have helped to ease the family tension and improve the family’s overall finances.
Success Story #2:
Mr Smin B. Samuri first came to ComSA’s attention back in 2013. The team was doing a survey with his wife then but noted his conditions and offered him assistance as well.
Mr Smin is 72 years old and lives in a two-room rental flat with his wife and son. He is emotionally attached to his previous home in Toa Payoh - he likes to go back to his old Toa Payoh area to catch up with his friends and play chess with them. Financially, Mr Smin and his family rely on his CPF annuity and contributions from some of his children. He has various chronic medical conditions, such as gout, diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart disease, etc.
Smin has frequent hospital admissions and multiple specialist outpatient medical appointments. He is getting frail, experiences difficulty in breathing and has to walk slowly. These affect his lifestyle as he can no longer go to his favourite Toa Payoh area to meet up with friends. He also experiences pain from gout, and is unable sleep well – which affects his wife’s sleep too.
Both Smin and his wife, who is his main caregiver, do not have a good understanding of his health conditions. They thus feel helpless that his condition fluctuated despite multiple and frequent visits to GPs, polyclinic, and hospital.
His wife expressed stress in caring for Smin as he is not cooperative. For example he refuses to take medication at times, insists on going out despite his conditions, and refuses to control his dietary intake. His wife has her own medical conditions which worsen as she cares and worries for Smin.
ComSA team took on the case and introduced many interventions, such as arranging for regular primary care checkups for him. The team regularly visited the couple and counselled both on their different needs and situations too.
Today, Mr Smin has a better control of his chronic conditions and he is able to go to Toa Payoh more often. He is happier with better overall health and mobility. Mr Smin experiences less pain on the whole, less hospitalisation and less acute hospital visits. Mrs Smin feels more relieved and supported, and she is more capable of managing her own health conditions too. There is an overall improvement on the family’s home environment. And the son whom Mr Smin has been missing badly got in touch with him more often after understanding the situation.