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When We Met Nani

Updated: May 25, 2023

In 2021, there were approximately 64.5 thousand single-person elderly households in Singapore. In the past ten years, this figure is estimated to keep on increasing as Singapore faces the challenges of an ageing population. It has been projected that by 2030, more than 20% of the Singaporean resident population would be aged 65 years and above.

For our Adopt an Elder beneficiary Mdm Mariam, she lives alone in a small flat in Banda Street, Kreta Ayer Chinatown. Her husband passed away years ago while the couple’s two sons passed away when they were merely toddlers.

When we visited Mdm Mariam in late November this year, we could feel the loneliness in the house. Mcm Mariam is a friendly lady who calls herself ‘Nani’ - an endearing term which translates to Grandma in Urdu. Being half Pakistani, Mdm Mariam is proud of her family’s cultural background.

It was heartwarming to hear that she often goes to the community centre nearby to exercise with her friends, but recently she has been unwell - her left leg was swollen and even after going to the doctor, it has not fully healed.

“What Nani is most scared of is falling down, because I live alone. For two weeks, my leg was swollen. It was so big that even I was scared to look at it. When I went to the doctor, he diagnosed that it was nothing after an x-ray was done so he gave me normal medicine.”

When she had no sickness, Mdm Mariam actively exercised with her fellow peers at the nearby Community Centre!

"Usually if my leg is well, I will go down. Nani enjoys it a lot because I get to meet friends as compared to just sitting at home. The CC is nearby, only walking distance away,” Mdm Mariam shared with us.

“Nani is very thankful to Allah S.W.T. because for the past two weeks that I’ve not been going down to exercise, my friends came knocking at my door, ‘Mariam kamu apa pasal tak ada datang? (Mariam, why haven’t you been joining us?)’”.

Besides a strong support group within her neighbourhood, Mdm Mariam is grateful to also have family members who often check up on her.

“My nieces and nephews call me ‘Mother’. They often come to visit me. When I’m unwell, they come once every two weeks.”

During our visit, Mdm Mariam turned emotional when we passed her the food aid which consists of frozen snacks and other food staples, as well as financial aid.

Our team had a very heartwarming and humbling visit to Mdm Mariam’s humble abode. It touched our hearts to see how much our visit and our aid means to her. Just the fact that we remembered her and provided aid was enough to bring tears to her eyes.

Mdm Mariam’s story is similar to many of our Adopt an Elder beneficiaries - they live alone, lack companionship, and they truly value our presence and our aid.

We invite you to contribute to our Adopt an Elder project, where you can care for an elder by supporting their everyday needs, which includes medical expenses, groceries, cooked meals on the weekends and also financial aid.

Every donation counts. Today, you could make a huge impact even if it's for just one person.

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