What I Learned From A Ninety-Three Year-Old Lady

Never assume that they are helpless

Summer Lotus
4 min readFeb 16, 2021
By Rosalind Ho

It’s the second day of the Lunar New Year. I decided to tag along with my sister-in-law, Terry who does regular visitations to the homes of elderly people who live alone.

I brought along some oranges, a red packet, and some biscuits and crackers. It was my first time meeting Mdm Tan and I wanted to find out more about her story.

Mdm Bio is 93 years of age and lives in a rented flat, heavily subsidized by the government in the eastern part of Singapore.

(The Singapore Govt has devised a very supportive plan for those who have no other housing options but met the criteria to apply for rental flats. The flats are leased at a very cheap price in many parts of the island, some going for as low as $26 a month.)

Mdm Tan strikes me as very upbeat, sprightly, and receptive. She was watching a television program when we arrived, immediately welcomed us warmly into her house, and offered us New Year snacks.

It was not what I had imagined. I had thought that she would be a very depressed, lonely elderly woman, living within the confines of her own flat with no one to talk to and passing her time with much difficulty.

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Summer Lotus

My Chinese name. Inspired by mundane events to write to become more self aware. Challenge seeker, lover of sports, dental surgeon, ardent Toastmaster.