Happenings, News

Helping Christians to respond to dementia patients’ needs

AWORKSHOP to help Christian caregivers understand and respond to the needs of persons with dementia from a Christian perspective was held on July 22, 2006 at Sophia Blackmore Hall at Methodist Centre.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms Kwok Sian Yee, Executive Officer of the Bethany Home Help Service, and conducted by Ms Sigi Hetzler, an occupational therapist who is providing rehabilitation, therapy and training services to nursing homes.

To allow for group work, the number of participants had to be limited to 80 but interest was high. We had 86 participants and had to turn away about 40 others who had wanted to attend.

The participants looked at the different types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia. Some of the myths about dementia were debunked and the importance to understand fears such as loss of control and loss of significance was addressed.

Participants were led to see that the behavioural problems in dementia are a result of the effect of the disease process on the body, soul and spirit, and the need to help patients overcome these effects by understanding their internal needs and to touch their hearts through loving actions.

The workshop was organised following a meeting of the Central District of the TRAC Board of Outreach and Social Concerns where the need to develop a ministry for patients with dementia was discussed.

During the workshop, it was clear that there is a need to cater to different groups of caregivers separately – e.g., a strictly family caregivers group and another for lay volunteers. Talks on dementia will also be helpful.

We had several participants from St Luke’s Community Hospital as well as St Andrew’s Community Chapel.

In addition to generating awareness of the problem of dementia, the Lord has opened our eyes to the need for unity in the Christian community in outreach and social concerns so that we will be a more effective witness of His amazing love.

Dr Patrick Kee is the Chairman of the TRAC Board of Outreach and Social Concerns.


OBITUARY: MISS LIM GEOK KHENG (1923 – Aug 16, 2006)

First Old Girl to head Fairfield dies

MISS Lim Geok Kheng (right), who passed away on Aug 16, 2006 at the age of 83, was the first Fairfield Old Girl to head Fairfield Methodist Girls’ School in 1960 until she retired in 1982.

Miss Lim, who studied at Fairfield before the Pacific war, and knew the missionary principals, Miss Mary Olson and Miss Carrie Kenyon, was a direct connection that extended to the early years of the 20th century.

As senior mathematics teacher, she took charge of her alma mater which faced daunting challenges, among which were the changes in educational policy of the new nation of Singapore after 1965.

A rapidly expanding enrolment looked forward to a new emphasis on science and mathematics, second language, physical ruggedness and all the actions and activities that were associated with them.

Perhaps the most pressing problem was that of location and space, and for which Miss Lim will be remembered.

Located at Neil Road, a busy and noisy thoroughfare at the fringe of Chinatown, Fairfield was bursting at the seams, and a five-storey extension in 1968 proved only a temporary respite to the congestion which was not finally resolved until 1982 when Fairfield moved to Dover Road, to become two separate primary and secondary schools, both co-educational. There the new Fairfield was born.


Seminar on end-of-life care

THE Methodist Hospice Fellowship is holding a seminar on issues relating to end-of-life care. It will be held at Sophia Blackmore Hall, 6th floor, Methodist Centre, on Oct 7, 2006, from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Bishop Dr Robert Solomon is the keynote speaker and he will be speaking on “Hopeful Suffering”.

The other speakers are Dr Ting Wen Chang, Dr Patrick Kee and Mr David Row. They will touch on issues concerning the end of life such as initiating and withdrawing life support, advance care planning, making end-of-life decisions and God-centred care.

Admission is free, and those interested in attending the seminar can register through this email: mhf@bethany.mws.org.sg or call Sian Yee at 6761-0112 or 8161-1455 (mobile phone).