Singapore

Seniors in S'pore find it hard to stay home in order to stay safe amid Covid-19


Seniors in Singapore account for many of the Covid-19 patients who are seriously ill, and they have been advised to stay home.

The Straits Times speaks to seniors who offer varying reasons why they are out and about.

Seniors finding it hard to stay home in order to stay safe from Covid-19

Retiree Lee Kok Leong, 75, has been diligent about all the measures meant to keep people in his age group and others safe from Covid-19, but it has been more than 18 months and he is tired of staring at the walls in his home in Bedok.

Fully vaccinated with Pfizer since April, Mr Lee, who lives with his wife, said he now goes out every day for one to two hours.

“I reduce my time outside, but if you are confined at home for the whole day, it is very stressful. My wife scolds me and tells me to cut down my time spent outside,” he said, adding that before the pandemic, he would be out with friends for at least half the day.

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Some elderly S’poreans stopping at two doses, or refusing Covid-19 vaccine altogether

Living with a younger sister who has decided against vaccination has been frustrating for Mr Lim King Joo, 70.

Mr Lim, who is waiting to receive his booster shot next month, having completed the first two rounds in early May, said his 65-year-old sister has not received a single dose of the vaccine.

“She refuses to go and I can’t convince her. She says she’s afraid of the side effects,” he said, adding that his three other siblings have also tried talking to her but to no avail.

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If I were to stay home all day, I think I will become senile, says elderly S’porean

Staying home the whole day is stifling, said Mr Chew Chong Kee, 72, who prefers to be outdoors.

The retiree, who completed his double-shot regime in March, is waiting to receive a notification for his booster shot.

He goes out at about 11am every day and returns home only at about 10pm. This has been the routine even amid the pandemic.

He told The Straits Times in Mandarin: “If I am alone at home and reduce the time that I go out, what will I become? If I were to stay home all day, I think I will become senile.”

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For some S’porean seniors, need for income means having to leave home for work

Cobbler Kay Ching Poh, 70, received his booster shot at the end of last month.

It gives him an increased sense of safety and peace of mind as he continues running his makeshift stall outside Chinatown MRT station.

Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Kay said: “I open every day, from 10am to 7pm. Of course, I’m worried because I’m scared of getting infected.

“But I have no choice, I have to eat. If I didn’t need to eat, then I would not keep working.”

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Seniors still heading out amid Covid-19 surge but only for essential purposes

When housewife Chan Sock Cheng, 68, needs fresh ingredients to whip up a meal, she will visit Chinatown Complex and the market in Waterloo Street.

Madam Chan, who received her booster shot last month, said she goes grocery shopping about three times a week. This routine has not changed despite the pandemic and the advisories for seniors to stay home.

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“If I have to use the ingredient, I will have to go and buy it because I am cooking every day,” she said in Mandarin, adding that she otherwise remains at home.

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