The Thia family live in a 3-bedroom HDB flat in Bukit Purmei. The sole breadwinner, Mr Thia Tong Huat, worked as a factory machine operator and provided for his wife, son and daughter. Mr Thia’s wife, son and daughter have mild intellectual disability. Their family life is simple and happy. Their regular weekend activity is to go to VivoCity, which is near their home, and window-shop at the spacious and beautiful mall.
Alan Thia, 34 years old, is more independent than his mother and sister. Upon finishing school, he had a few working stints at KFC and Subway. His work involved mainly cleaning and sometimes serving of food. He loved the opportunity of donning a uniform and enjoyed every aspect of work. However, long-term employment is not sustainable due to his mental capacity.
In February 2018, Mr Thia, the strong pillar of the family, passed away due to complications from diabetics. The older Mr Thia had asked Alan to take care of himself and the family before his demise.
Unfortunately, a few months later, in November 2018, Alan was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and was referred to Assisi Home Care Service for symptom management and palliative care. This Home Care Service is provided free.
When we asked Alan about his main concerns, he said: “Worried… (own) health, mother, sister…..everything.”
One of the things Alan wanted to do for his sister and mom was to bring them to the Zoo as the place holds fond memories for them. Their last visit was with the older Mr Thia before he became too ill. They had not been back due to the cost of the admission tickets. The Assisi team helped to fulfil his wish of a family trip to the Zoo on 24 May 2019, two days before his birthday.
Understanding the person we care for is ever more important especially with Alan. We need to learn to read his body language to identify his moments of worry and moments of happiness. Caring for them also involved guiding the mother and sister to take public transport to unfamiliar places such as hospitals.
The Thia family is one of many less privileged families we serve. 51% of Assisi Hospice’s patients are poorest of the poor and means tested to the lowest income level. Our patients, especially those from underprivileged families like Alan, require help from the community in times of distress. Show your support at: https://assisihospice.give.asia/