This old folks home was established first in 2013 at Taman Seri Gombak and later on moved to Ampang in 2015. There are 15 ladies here – all of them have never been married and have no close relatives to bring them home and take care of them. Most have no serious chronic illness. The centre focuses on being as independent as they can and providing public education towards caring for the elderly. The home also takes in 5 Warga Perlindungan (asnaf, single parents) who they train to care for the residents in the house. In return, they have a roof on their head and means to continue their daily lives especially if they have dependents under them.
The owner, Puan Faezah was previously a Palliative Care nurse who once worked with Hospice Malaysia. Armed with her experience, she not only wants to care for the elderly but also wishes to impart her knowledge to the public regarding the geriatric population. She looks forward to visits from individuals and groups to come see her home. She conducts talks on Communication Skills with The Elderly, End of life care, conducts family conference and many more. She herself, is hungry, to learn more, not only to update her already vast skills but also things like social media so she could get the word out more for her organization.
For this short programme, we invited 3 masseuse to come by and give the residents a shoulder & foot rub, we had a short session to just get to know more about the home, and later a mini lunch to end our day. It was a short 3 hour affair.
Take away points;
- With age, our 5 senses that we usually take for granted will slowly decline in function. Our eyes, ears, our speech , our cognitive function.. and this will certainly affect how we live and interact in our daily lives. So we try to be prepared for old age.
- We are all agents of change. Being an SK (Srikandi), the label should be a catalyst for us to not only make our lives and our families at their best but also serve the community in whatever capacity that you can.
- LOVE can be the magic potion in rehabilitation. Just like Wan. She came to the old folks home bed bound requiring a feeding tube. With time, she gained energy and Will, so much so that her Ryles tube managed to be removed and now she can sit up and ambulate with her Zimmer frame independently.
- To care for someone, we need to get to know that person well for the most optimum care. Everyone has different needs. And we need to match these requirements with the correct knowledge and skills in handling them.
- Getting into a fight (even among the elderly) is inevitable. This friction can cause conflict in the home thus has to be addressed accordingly. Puan Faezah interestingly mentioned that these elderly ladies needs to be reminded from time to time, just like a kid, to be on their best behaviour when visitors come. Quarrels also occur simply because they have lost their hearing hence a communication breakdown.
- CHARITY – To help those in need, we need to start with ourselves. It is best to make sure that we are first ‘full’, happy and enough. And then, our close family is too enough. Meaning they have our attention, our love.. in other words, their basic needs to function as a family member is met. Only then, we are in a way Ready and Equipped to help those who are less fortunate.
- CHARITY work is evolving. It’s not just about receiving funds and giving basic care. Now, we are heading towards educating the public, empowering the less fortunate to be confident in themselves so they could communicate with everybody else.
- Not all elderly folks are SENILE. Some, has mental faculties which are still sharp. However, once their cognitive function deteriorates, they behave just like a baby.
- It’s not cheap to care for an elderly person.
- Social Media is vital nowadays to spread the news. So more people could help them. The home wants us to share the message that  if your niyat is right, it doesn’t matter if the home has only 1 resident – you would still want to help.  Not all Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) approved homes are financially stable, they still need a lot of support, especially funding when operating the place.
For this programme, I was in charge of the goodie bags. I have to admit, there were certain things in the bag which were inappropriate. At such an age, in Malaysia, it is less of wanting to sit down and read a book or magazine. For to them, in this home, it is more to fulfill the basic needs in life. Being able to just stay awake for a few hours before sleeping almost all the time. They just want to hold someones hand, or being cuddled, talk to someone, sing, bath independently, put on their clothes on their own, eat and rest comfortably.
In the bag there is a pair of kaftan for sleeping, foot patch, hand cream, a roll-on perfume, a digital tasbih, some reading materials and a carton of drink. In retrospective, perhaps the ones that they could benefit most were the kaftan, foot patch and hand cream. The drinks, Puan Faezah said they will collect and share them during mealtimes as poor coordination could result in spills in the room which later attracts ants.
Now I know better.
Over the years, ever since the home was established, 15 elderly ladies has passed away due to old age. Each death leaves a void in their heart. InsyaAllah, for all of them, a good ending and will earn a place in Jannah.
So, if you are in Ampang and you want to extend help, Pusat Jagaan Sri Mesra is there to welcome you with open arms.