Madam Hasnah Binte Ahmad loves helping others. You will often find her at home on her sewing machine. The retired seamstress still puts her sewing skills to good use, helping neighbours alter or mend their clothes.
“They want to offer me money but I tell them that’s what neighbours are for,” said the 71-year-old, who speaks in a fluent mix of Malay and Hokkien.
Madam Hasnah’s is generous despite her challenging circumstances – she is widowed and lives alone with several chronic conditions including diabetes and asthma, which limit her mobility. Through help from a network of care providers in the area, she continues to live at home, near the kampung she loves.
On top of visits to the Woodlands polyclinic for check-ups, Madam Hasnah receives support from the Woodlands Health Campus (WHC) community nursing team, which provides regular home-based care and monitoring for vulnerable seniors, to ensure her chronic conditions are under control. To stave off loneliness, she is visited periodically by student volunteers who partner with WHC to befriend elderly in the North.
When she is able, Madam Hasnah also goes to the nearby Sunlove Senior Activity Centre which offers health and wellness programmes for seniors living in rental units in the Marsiling area. There, she has formed fast friendships with fellow participants – harking back to her own kampung days as a child.
“I may not have a lot but the friends and neighbours I have make every day worth living,” said Madam Hasnah.