We see more and more elderly people around us


Two Sundays ago, I took this shot of an elderly lady in the park; she was enjoying herself in the middle of the city.  She didn’t say a word, and while I was looking at her, neither did the caregiver say a word.  But, I could sense in the lady the feeling of peace and satisfaction. This picture was not taken in Singapore.

Then, I began to see myself and my fellow SHC friends and members in a wheelchair. Various thoughts came to my mine.  Many of us are fit, perhaps working and enjoying our lives.  We cannot wait to see the rest of the world; so many countries to go and not enough time.  We feel we are still somewhere up there, and that we have made it after all these years; and that no one should tell us what to do, how to do it right and that I am wrong.  Then, one day, we land up in that wheelchair.  No one talks to us, not even the caregiver, if we have one.

Ever since SHC started in 2005, I see many fit and young faces among Club members. Where will we be?

Terence Seah

18 thoughts on “We see more and more elderly people around us

  1. Hi Terence

    I can’t help but laugh to myself when I read your “We feel we are still somewhere up there….and that no one should tell us what to do, how to do it right and that I am wrong.”

    Yes, these thoughts have occured to me and I am quite fearful of falling into this trap or maybe, I have a foot in it already.

    Perhaps, this could also be a reason for the squabbles in SHC.

    A time for reflection and efforts to endeavour leaving this world a better person than when I came into it.


  2. Hee hee, Terence

    I shall be there way before you… By the way, is it triplets that I see in the banner, or is it your clever manipulation? The caregiver seems busy with her mobile and I doubt would be very attentive or interacting with the old lady. Unfortunately we all have a possibility of ending up like her, or worse. What can being a Pioneer Generation member do? Very little; it is just like the incessant football advertisement promoting its benefits. When you have to be disabled or incapacitated to claim them…there is very little to cheer about.

    On to more positive thoughts: Yes, those of us who are retired and fortunate to have a pension or a little nest egg can look forward to some years of enjoyment and contentment. They can join the country clubs, tour the world, eat till drop, or even join SHC.

    We should also not neglect our health, discipline ourselves to excercise, give back to society, indulge our grandchildren, and nurture our spiritual lives.

    Well, what can all these lead to? And these senior issues can be addressed by SHC:

    Programmes and activities to enhance senior living
    Retirement homes and living overseas
    Financial and investment planning
    Wills, trusts and estate
    Educational courses
    Re-training for seniors for work/volunteerism

    I think we can have a lot to address at SHC and SHE as well…

  3. Terence

    At least this grand old dame looked at peace with herself.

    Not long ago, I was engaged in a committee organizing a few hours of fun time for some 300 seniors from at least 2 homes and a day care centre.

    It was a learning experience, organizing it, interaction with the volunteers and the seniors themselves of course.

    The seniors played a myriad of games, had bingo with hampers of bird’s nest as prizes, were treated to a magic show, had photos of themselves taken and caricatures done, treated to a tea buffet including ice creams and pop corns.

    They were happy to have fun, were all smiles and enjoyed themselves to an otherwise routine and uneventful day.

    At the end of the event, I saw some elderlies boarding a minibus ready to leave. I noticed an old man was sitting next to the driver’s seat. I don’t know why but I had a strange feeling in me and I decided to walk to the van to say goodbye to the old folks. I approached the old man to say good bye to him too. He wound down the windows and said his thanks. His body was slouched and he looked sad. He looked lonely.

  4. Hi Terence
    Growing old is inevitable whether you are rich, poor or hold positions of power.
    How we can manage this aging process is paramount.
    What is your lifestyle, what do you perceive life.
    To some people, they look forward to a day when they are free and perhaps can relax on a rocking chair, having little else to do. While others may want to continue working as long as possible and some others may want to occupy themselves with voluntary work and not for monetary gains. There are others who has found great meaning in life by bring up grand children.
    Whatever their choices they have some purposes in life. This is more rewarding
    than what the PG package can offer.

  5. For every apparent old wretch we see, we must acknowledge that he or she has had his/her glorious day. It is in the nature of thing.

    My mother will be 88 come September. She used to be the loudest in the family (she has 7 children, including me, and numerous grandchildren). From young, we always perceived mother as a “big bully” because dad (he passed on 2 years ago) was at the other extreme – timid and quiet. Dad was always at the receiving end during “discussions”.

    However, we are forever grateful that mother is the one who single-handedly raised us to be independent and responsible adults, ironically perhaps, with her unflinching and uncompromising manner. Where are we if not for this woman?

    At her old age, mother would always say, “Now I don’t care. Just give me food and I will eat”, but a mere few seconds later, she would tell my sister, cooking in the kitchen, “How can you cook like that?” We often thought she was unreasonable and irritating.

    3 months ago my mother had a stroke. It was very damaging. Apart from being able to see and move her right hand, all her other senses and functions have failed. She is bedridden and fed via a tube through her nose. Perhaps the greatest blow is that she is unable to talk, something she enjoys most. A pitiful sight for a once upon a time iron-lady.

    My sisters cry often because they missed her voice, or nagging to be exact; something that they felt very annoying only a year ago.

    Life is unpredictable. Treasure the people around you and make others treasure your presence too.


  6. Good morning Hew Lee!

    Everything’s fine with you? Or are you using the new language of the 21st century which some are using now i.e. only the first letters of words you are saying?

  7. Hello Li Li! Long time no see.
    Maybe Hew Lee fell asleep while typing. No full stop to his sentence too. Hee…..
    Correction: “whom some are using” and not “which”.

  8. Hello Daisy & LiLi, also long time no see both of you. Just completed the 12-sessions IT course for the 50plus organized by NLB. I recd one complain from the participant. You see, giving free lessons still kana complain. Where is the graceful living from us? This is part of the occupational risk we volunteers have to stomach.

    Coming back to my coded comment, the truth is, my 8 years old grand-daughter always asked for my phone to surf YouTube, she must hv done the right sequence to accidentally posted that comment – sorry. Sometimes SMS msgs are also sent out that puzzled my friends. Luckily she cannot download any games without the PW.

  9. Hee hee, Hew Lee

    Kena complain again! You offer free also kena complain!

    I suggest you charge a fee…maybe $40 per session… Now easier with SHE PayPal… Hey, now ATM cash card top-up also want to charge.

    I am seriously considering charging $3,000 for an investment seminar in Thailand… the fee will cover airfare, three nights at a hotel and three sessions where I will share my Retirement Income Options Trading (RIOT) system, two free T-shirts: one red and one yellow, one full body massage and three Thai dinners. Now, dare to complain some more!

  10. Hi Terence
    Your second paragraph summarises the mindset of healthy, active elderly very well, but the point you are making is not obvious. I assume it is “How do we cope when we suddenly find ourselves in a wheelchair…nobody wants to talk to us ..”. This is a reality that many healthy do not want to confront, but I think it’s important to be prepared for this eventuality and then cope as best as we can so that we are not too much of a burden to our caregivers, and can spend our frail old age (in wheelchair/ homebound/bedbound…) in peace and serenity.

    A personal opinion.

  11. Good that all’s well, Hew Lee i.e. other than the one complain which you might have forgotten by now. Heee……….

    See on the 19th!


  12. I’ve figured out what Hew Lee meant by “ggtyrkm”
    It’s addressed to his granddaughter: “Get Going To Your Room, Kid, Move!”

  13. Most of us are reaching and going into the last phase of our life

    Phase 1 – Education, intense acquiring of knowledge & social skills, formative years of life.
    This is the care free period; only need to attend classes and passing examinations
    Have fun and disturbed all the young “things” next doors. Involved in some skirmishes and fights.
    Sometimes in more wholesome activities – Poly 50s, yoga classes, join the Student Union, etc.

    Phase 2 – Career. Reality of life, have to earn your keeps. Stress creeps into our lives.
    With financial independence, we chose our lifestyles and all the accompanying vices and thus physical abuses to our bodies.
    We were young and with a can do spirit, we indulged excessively in foods, drinks, & women. Some in gambling, drugs, etc.
    National service is a good balance to our life style with a fair amount of forced physical exercises; hate it or love it.
    This is also the time that we started a family. Providing some checks and balances of our excesses, and thus have a calming effect on our excessive lifestyle.

    Phase 3 – Our children are growing up and we worked hard providing for the family & the children’s education, the dream house / condo., cars, holidays, and other desirable luxury trappings & hobbies.

    Phase 4 – Our children have grown up and are financially independence. We look towards retirement.
    We are wiser now. As we slow down, we begin to think about “Life”; what is this? Many of us started to have a bucket list of things to do. Around this time, all the abuses we have inflicted on ourselves showed up – pains from old injuries, nasty cough due to excessive smoking, our kidney and liver suffered due to heavy drinking and unhealthy diets. When we look around, more and more of our friends and loved ones are lost to illnesses, especially to cancers.

    I cannot speak on others’ behalves. I, myself have gone through some profound changes in my outlook towards life when I hit 55. My priorities change when I become aware of human mortality.
    Mentoring young people whom have the intention to start their own businesses.
    Kinder to animals. I am heavily involved in animal welfare and the greatest joy was adopting a Jap Spitz.
    Embark on a healthier diets – more veggies and fruits, less red meat.

    Start to link-up and network with old friends.

    We chose our way of life to the very end. No right or wrong way.
    Be comfortable with what you are doing, lead a balance life with no regrets.
    Most important of all, be healthy. Medical cost could be a huge drain to our finances; health comes before money.

    Set out on your bucket list. Our creator is not going to send me back when my time is up and lament not accomplish it. Live life without regret.


    • Hi Leon,

      You have given us a life overview, Phase 1 to 4. But when you mention that most of us are in the last phase of our life, I could not resist not agreeing with you.

      I feel otherwise. How about looking forward to another 4 phases? I have not enjoyed my first 3 phases yet. Be positive young man.

      Terence Seah

  14. Terence,
    Haha. Each phase take 20 years. So you gonna have have another 4 phases which means add another 80 years of living. But I believe you mean metaphorically
    re-living learning, starting another family ????? etc.

    Though age is just a number, that number has hardly being tested beyond 90 for most Singaporean . Thereotically if we live right ( diet, environment, include climate , pace of life) from beginning since birth one scientist believe we can test the limit to 100 to 120 yeras it is possible to push 120 years by one renowned scientist. Sadly Singapore do not give that kind of environment.

    I am making the best of this last phase. The technologies available then and now are different. Remember our time when pager was an ” in thing” and the brick size
    handphone was for big bosses only. So much new technologies, trend are now available that we should continue to embrace without fear of being ridiculed.

    I believe that what you intend to mean having another 4 phases by not reliving the past but staying young at heart and connected. I am young at heart and connect well with youngster despite pushing 60s soon. Need not have to dye my hair silver to qualify for Silverhair club . Nor succumb to what “uncles” should look like .



  15. I received a poem from a friend.
    I modified it to describe a typical old man in hospital.
    We will be there. It’s a matter of time.

    What do you see nurse? What do you see?
    What are you thinking when you are looking at me?
    When you say in a loud voice….. “I do wish you’d try!”
    I dribble my food, and make no reply.

    With no resistance, I let you do as you will,
    With bathing and feeding, and taking the pills.
    I seem not to notice, the things that you do.
    I am to you but a wasted old fool.

    Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
    Then open your eyes, nurse you’re not looking at me.
    I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
    As I recall my lifetime till now that I am very ill.

    I am with my father and mother, a small child at ten
    Happy family we are, although not much to spend.
    A young boy of eighteen, with wings on my feet.
    All too soon now, this pretty damsel I meet.

    At twenty I wed, someone says it’s a freak of fate
    But I believe, someone has sent me my soul mate.
    At twenty-five, now I have young of my own.
    They need me to guide and furnish a happy home.

    A man of thirty my young have grown fast,
    Just a couple of them but listen to their full blast.
    I am forty and my youngsters have their own turf.
    But my woman is beside me, my dear and my love.

    At fifty, once more, babies play around my knee,
    Again, we have children, my loved one and me.
    One day dark clouds fell upon me, my dear is dead.
    I look up high above and ask, “why not take me instead?”

    For my children are both away with homes of their own.
    Quietly I sit, remembering the best person that I’ve known
    Then I realise, it is not just my love that I lost
    The mirror shows, nature has taken its course.

    The body it crumbles, grace and vigour depart.
    Age has taken its toll, on this lonely battered heart.
    But inside this old carcass, a living soul still dwells,
    My brain still functions although I don’t see and hear well.

    The good and bad in life had come and gone so fast.
    I can only accept the stark reality that nothing will last.
    Now that I have told you all about my life.
    Don’t you wish that I will soon see my wife?

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