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IPCA 2024 - Grace Yee

It all began with a sudden and unexpected fall at work in 2023, resulting in a significant injury to my left shoulder and leg. It was 10pm, at the end of a workday. The lights were switched off in the kitchen when I accidentally slipped and landed on my left side. The pain was so bad that I could not move at all. At the hospital, it was discovered that my left shoulder had a closed fracture and I was unable to lift my left leg or walk due to the impact of the fall.

It took one month of daily rehabilitation for 90 minutes before I could start to walk with a crutch. Thereafter, it took another month before I could walk with a walking aid. Despite the challenges, my stay at Outram Community Hospital (OCH) motivated me to restart my volunteering stint. I am no stranger to volunteering. Before COVID-19 hit, I used to visit low-income families and the elderly with Fei Yue Community Services.

My heart goes out especially to those living alone – be it single mums or the elderly. Perhaps it is because I am also a single parent, and my son and I received strong support from different communities and my church group when I was a young parent. So, we want to pay it forward and help the disadvantaged communities.

During my stay at OCH, I noticed that many seniors in my ward looked gloomy. I would chat with them, crack jokes and encourage them to do their prescribed exercises. During one of the patient activity sessions at OCH, I was given a set of art materials – crayons, markers, colour pencils. This immediately gave me the idea to draw some "Get Well Soon" cards for the fellow patients staying at my ward, as well as cards that expressed my appreciation to the OCH staff. Witnessing their spirits lift made me realise that a simple act to bring on a smile and good cheer can really change the lives of others.

By persevering through my physiotherapy sessions twice a week, I was able to walk normally three months after my injury. After my discharge from OCH, I decided to volunteer with the RSVP Singapore, The Organisation of Senior Volunteers, as well as OCH, so that I can continue to engage with and encourage elderly people.

After my fall, I became more aware of the loneliness elderlies may feel when they are home, especially if they are frail and can't go out much. Till date, I continue visiting the few lone seniors whom I had befriended during my stay at the hospital to check on them and keep them company.

Today, the fracture in my shoulder has healed, but I was subsequently found with a 1cm muscle ligament tear due to the fall which is still affecting my left arm in terms of range and weight-bearing.

Balancing my volunteer work which includes home visitation with my own rehabilitation can be demanding sometimes. However, my Christian faith motivates me. I remain committed to making a difference and do small acts of kindness whenever I can.

"I am inspired by Grace's positive outlook despite the long rehabilitation she had to endure. Not only did she persevere, she uplifted those around her in her own ways."

Lynn Kerk
Wellbeing Coordinator
Social Prescribing, Office of Community Engagement & Education
Outram Community Hospital