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Seniors Appreciate the Thought that Counts

Apart from Children’s Day and Youth Day, are you aware that there is an International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP)? To raise international awareness of population aging and the needs of the elderly, the United Nations has designated 1 October of every year as UNIDOP. The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) started the “Seniors Give Thanks!” campaign three years ago and this year was the second time that Tzu Chi had been invited. The latter led seniors in an activity that encouraged them to express their gratitude to their caregivers, friends, and society.

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Villay expresses her gratitude to neighbour Grandma Ee for giving her the motivation to carry on. (Photo by Zheng Mei Fen)

On 1 October 2016, Tan Chuan-Jin, the Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF), pointed out at the UNIDOP activity that the objective of holding the event was to encourage the elderly to engage actively with other people.

Apart from paying attention to the physical health of the elderly, their mental health also bears looking after, therefore providing opportunities for them to interact with family, friends, and neighbours is important.
The NCSS had organized celebratory activities in conjunction with UNIDOP for the past three years, and Tzu Chi had been invited to participate in the “Seniors Give Thanks!” campaign for the second year running. Together with some other corporate entities and voluntary social organizations, Tzu Chi led seniors in a handicraft activity, encouraging them to express their gratitude to their caregivers, friends and society.

Having the Strength to Live On ‒ Because of You

“I see my mother’s image in Grandma……” said Villay, an Indian Tzu Chi aid recipient, who suffers from mobility difficulties due to a stroke. All her daily needs had to be taken care of by her husband and just when she needed him the most, he passed away.

Fortunately, her neighbour, Grandma Ee, heard about her plight and lent her a helping hand. The latter would deliver drinks to her daily and help change her diapers. Though Ee herself was suffering from high blood pressure, she would frequently knock on Villay’s door and remind her to take her medications regularly. This made the latter very touched.

With the help of Tzu Chi volunteers, Villay slowly penned down her heartfelt thanks to Grandma Ee. “I’m grateful to you for giving me the courage to live on!” She said. Though both women are not related by blood ties, they set a good example of the concern and gratitude that we should all have for our fellow men.

When Tzu Chi volunteers knocked on the doors of Henderson, another beneficiary, his wife and four children were still asleep as they had stayed up late the night before. His tiny unit with just a bedroom and a hall, was in a state of disarray. Miscellaneous items were strewn all over the floor and made the tiny unit, which the five of them called home, look even more cluttered.

“I want to express my gratitude to my wife,” said Henderson without hesitation when the volunteers explained the purpose of their visit that day.

He proceeded to pen a thank you card to her while she and their children were still fast asleep. Then, he carefully crafted a paper flower under the guidance of volunteers, and prepared a coffee-and-toast breakfast to surprise her when she awoke. Though it was just a few simple actions, they spoke volumes about his love and gratitude.

Volunteer Lin Li Fang said that although Henderson is sick and is unable to provide material comforts for his family, the simple sincerity in which he conducts his life is likely the reason that his wife is willing to share life’s joys and sorrows with him.

As the saying goes, it is the thought behind the gift that counts. Just as Henderson wrote with such sincerity: “……no matter what the time or (where the) place, my love is always there for you.”

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With volunteers’ encouragement, stroke patient Henderson writes a thank you card for his wife. (Photo by Lin Li Fang)

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The value of a gift lies in the thought behind it. As Henderson wrote with such sincerity: “……no matter what the time or (where the) place, my love is always there for you.” (Photo by Lin Li Fang)

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