90 year-old Amy Tan is our feisty patient who strives to be as independent as possible despite her age and physical illness. Born in Indonesia, she came over to Singapore to study in her teens after World War 2. After studying, she joined a male dominated environment – the British Air Force, doing administrative work for procurement of spare parts for aircrafts. After the British Air Force moved out, she had to look for a new job. Eventually, she found a “man’s job” in the industry oil and gas industry. She said, “I often have to climb very high, could be a few storeys, to check if there is any leakage in the gas tanks.”
This resilient lady has overcome numerous challenges in her life. She battled depression in her 30s and lost her savings in her 50s when her business failed. About 10 years ago, she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. She is deteriorating gradually, feels breathless often and depends on a walker to move around. Being single, she stays alone in a one-room rental flat and finds it increasingly challenging to handle everyday tasks like buying groceries, cooking and cleaning. She said, “It is difficult for me to go out to buy fresh food to cook, so I will cook simple things like sweet potato porridge, or rice with some canned food.”
In Jun 2023, Auntie Amy came under the care of Assisi Hospice’s Home Care team. Our Home Care service is provided free. Our nurses and doctors visit her regularly to help manage her symptoms. With encouragement from the team, she currently attends our Day Care three days a week. Transport is provided and our Day Care supports patients with lung conditions who need continuous support from an oxygen concentrator. She receives clinical care and customised physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions, to maximise her ability to cope with activities of daily living as independently as possible. She also finds joy in new experiences like the group art therapy sessions and going on outings with the care and support of our staff and volunteers, as it is challenging for her to go out alone.
This Christmas, Auntie Amy’s wish is for strength to continue to live independently.