Blossoming Amidst Adversity: An LB Senior's Road to rejuvenation

Lucy at the garden outside LB AAC @ Mei Ling 150, where edible plants are grown and cared for by LB seniors.

Lucy Lim, 76, and her husband have led a simple but contented life. For the past five decades, they resided in a humble HDB flat located along Stirling Road, a peaceful neighbourhood that had withstood the tides of change in a rapidly developing Singapore. Lucy was working as a part-time kitchen staff, while her husband, five years her senior, was a retired cleaner. Well into their golden years, the elderly couple were finally ready to enjoy the fruit of their life-long labour together. But nothing could have prepared Lucy for what happened next as her world came crashing down.

Shattered Dreams and Heartbreak

In late 2019, Lucy’s husband suffered a major stroke that rendered him completely paralysed, robbing him of his independence. The incident came as a devastating blow to Lucy as she bore witness to how the once vibrant man she so cherished was reduced to a shadow of his former self overnight. “He was seemingly so fit and healthy all along, thus this happened so suddenly that I simply could not accept it,” Lucy recalled wistfully.

In 2020, the stricken patient was discharged from hospital and returned home, confined to his bed. Unwavering in her love and devotion towards him, Lucy left her job to become her husband’s full-time caregiver. The couple’s children had engaged a helper to look after him, but Lucy refused to leave his side for even a moment, still unable to come to terms with his debilitating condition. With an aching heart filled with worry, Lucy tirelessly tended to her husband’s needs round the clock, barely getting a wink of sleep herself. She said, “Sometimes I would doze off for a while, but once I hear him cough, I would get up to check on him to make sure he is properly covered with his blanket, then I won’t be able to get back to sleep. Things were really, really difficult.”

Arduous days and nights turned to months, the relentless grip of stress and mental anguish eating away at Lucy’s spirit. Within a short span of time, Lucy’s weight had rapidly dropped from 67 kg to merely 59 kg. She also hardly stepped out of home except to shop for household essentials. As Lucy teetered on the brink of despair, threatening to drown in a dark ocean of exhaustion and isolation, a ray of hope emerged, casting light on a path towards her rejuvenation.

“Some time in 2021, a few friends came to encourage me, recommending that I join the Active Ageing Centre near my place, as there were many activities that I could do,” Lucy said, referring to LB AAC @ Mei Ling 150 which stood about four bus stops away from her block. Although Lucy had previously signed up as an LB member during an outreach programme some years back, she had yet to attend any of the AAC’s programmes, and was unsure of where the centre was even located. Accepting her friends’ invitation, Lucy went with them to LB AAC @ Mei Ling 150, and within those welcoming walls, she found a community that offered her solace and support.

It’s hands-on at the AAC, where Lucy picks up different skills through activities such as wooden stool making.

Emerging From the Shadows

Initially, Lucy only visited the AAC occasionally, but as she slowly became more receptive towards getting out of the house and entrusting her helper to look after her husband during her brief periods of absence, she began to participate in more activities at the AAC. A wide range of programmes such as calligraphy, cooking, dancing, wooden stool-making as well as her favourite flower arrangement workshops gave Lucy an enriching avenue to take her mind off matters back home.

Lucy (second from right) engages in her favourite activity at the AAC – flower arrangement.

“I’ve learnt many things at LB (AAC), it’s really good,” Lucy remarked. “To pass time, I will join whatever activities are available and learn whatever I can!” Such was Lucy’s enthusiasm and flair for picking up new skills that she recently featured in an LB instructional video which provided a step-by-step demonstration on succulent potting. Every Friday morning, she would also join her fellow LB seniors at the outdoor garden near the AAC, tending to the edible plants there.


Finding Strength in Friendships

But what Lucy values even more are the friendships that she had established with fellow LB seniors and staff at the AAC, who always lent an ever-ready listening ear for her to share her innermost feelings, and alleviating the loneliness that had nearly engulfed her while she was taking care of her husband at home. “I’ve made many good friends here and known more people. The LB staff and volunteers are also very friendly, nice and not patronising. I’m very happy whenever I’m here,” she gushed. Now, Lucy would make an effort to drop by the AAC almost daily, even during times when programmes she did not register for were taking place, so as to enjoy the company of her friends and relax in the warm atmosphere of the AAC.


The warmth and friendliness of LB seniors and staff at the AAC greatly helped to lift Lucy’s (third from right) spirits.

It has been over three years since the fateful day Lucy’s husband was struck down by illness without any warning. Although his condition has shown no signs of improvement, Lucy has come to accept the situation with a fresh perspective and approach her caregiving responsibilities with a renewed spirit. She continues to be a pillar of strength to her beloved husband, attending to him every few hours, but also finds time for self-care by gaining new skills and hanging out with her friends at LB AAC @ Mei Ling 150.


Friendships blossom as LB seniors like Lucy (centre, wearing red hat) participate in a variety of fun programmes organised by the AAC.

“I’m very fortunate to have come to this place and be able to open up my heart to others,” Lucy concluded with a cheerful smile, one that was missing for so long but had finally returned.

We hope that these stories would inspire you to reach out and touch the lives of others.

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