Many retirees may spend their time on hobbies or with their loved ones. But not Mr Retnam Sahadevan.
Come December, he will be celebrating his 80th birthday at MWS Bethany Methodist Nursing Home (BMNH), as he did for the last 15 years.
The widower, who lost contact with his children, suffers from a host of ailments including dementia, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. He lost both legs to diabetes. Now wheelchair-bound, he also needs help for Activities of Daily Living such as toileting and bathing.
Despite his poor health, Retnam was able to regain sufficient strength with help given at BMNH. He is able to wheel himself to visit nearby shopping malls, coffee shop and neighbourhood park, accompanied by staff or volunteers.
His progress was possible because of the weekly rehabilitative exercises designed by BMNH’s multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, therapists, and case manager. He was able to increase upper body strength, endurance and learn how to manage gentle slopes through the intensive rehabilitation programme.
More poignantly for Retnam, BMNH has become a home to him over the past 15 years. He views the staff, volunteers and other residents as his family.
“I’m very happy to be here, with the good companionship and food. I just miss having curry,” said Retnam wistfully, naming a dish he had to cut back on due to his medical condition.
Curry has been indeed been replaced by something more needed by Retnam as well as others at BMNH, care of the cheerful staff and a new home.
The Supervised Community Access Programme
More than 7 in 10 of our residents are highly dependent on help for simple activities such as bathing or feeding. Despite this daunting situation, the multi-disciplinary team at BMNH is focused on helping as many as possible to eventually move about in their wheelchairs independently outside the Home.
The team assesses the residents to ensure that they have good vision, are able to push a wheelchair, have the ability to make safe decisions, and can feed themselves.
The residents go through three stages of training to ensure they are able to venture out alone.
First, they have to strengthen their muscles in the gym, then learn to handle their wheelchairs on gentle slopes within the home. Finally, they will practise using their wheelchairs just outside the Home under watchful eyes of staff before they are allowed to go out further.