Villa Francis Home for the Aged (12 July 2019)

On 12 July 2019, 27 Residents and Care-Givers from Villa Francis Home for the Aged travelled from their Home in Yishun to the best-kept secret that is Changi Sailing Club, for a morning excursion to enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and tranquil scenery. In appreciation of their hard work and dedication to the residents, Care-givers were also treated to a joyride on our CSC Ferry Boats, exploring our coastline from a different perspective!

We interviewed Sam Lim (Executive Community Partnership) and Jacqueline Soe (Enrolled Nurse, Supervisor) to get a better insight of the daily responsibilities of a Care-Giver.

How long have you been working with Villa Francis and what are your responsibilities at the Home?

Sam: I have been working with Villa Francis for 9 years, since May 2010. My major roles and responsibilities at the Home is to work with various communities, organisations and corporate groups to organize events and programmes for the residents.

Jacqueline: 9 years! I am an enrolled nurse, and I am part of a supervisory team for a ward at Villa Francis. Our responsibilities include but are not limited to: scheduling medication, meal preparation, housekeeping, wound dressings, patient reports and many other forms of patient care.

What was your most rewarding experience?

Sam: We recently organized a programme which involved primary 4 students entertaining and interacting with residents from Villa Francis. For residents, it rekindles memories of their childhood and/or their experiences with their own grandchildren. At the same time, students gain a better understanding that there are these groups of Elderly who need our care and support – also raising awareness of the ageing population in Singapore and the importance of adequate support systems in place to accommodate that.

Your saddest experience?

Sam: Every passing of a resident is a sad experience. Think of Villa Francis as one big family. Every resident is a family member, and it is always extremely heart-breaking to see family members go. Of course, over the years we have come to realise that it is part and parcel of life, making the pain more manageable.

Share a typical shift (work routine) in the life of a care-giver.

Jacqueline: The morning shift starts with serving medication at 0615-0620hrs, with breakfast service starting at 0700hrs. This is followed by wound dressings and patient medical reports. At about 0800hrs to 0900hrs, we have to conduct rooming cleaning followed by medication preparation for the afternoon shift. After 0900hrs, we have to bring patients for their morning exercise for about 30mins. At 1030hrs, we will prepare and serve lunch to the residents. This part includes cooking, blending the food and feeding the patients. Laundry and Housekeeping takes place at 1130hrs. At 1200hrs, we will serve the second portion of medication, ending off the morning shift by 1220hrs.

Last question! How can the public support or contribute to Villa Francis and its efforts?*

Sam: One of the easiest and most straight-forward ways is through monetary donations and food donations. It is popular for companies and members of the public to donate food during festive occasions such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. This, in addition to traditional breakfast fare such as Chee Cheong Fun and Lor Mai Kai – which are crowd favourites and suitable for the residents diet.

With regards to volunteering, we also have some members of the public committing 1 to 2 hours of their time every day to assist with patient care, simple chores and communicating with the residents in their native dialect. This is important as there is a significant language barrier; many of the residents can only speak in dialect/mandarin, and most of our care-givers are foreigners.

*For more details on making a donation or supporting the Home in other ways, please visit www.villafrancis.org.sg

Thank you Sam and Jacqueline for sharing with us intimate details of your experiences as care-givers with Villa Francis! Also big thank you to Stephen and the Coachman Inn Restaurant for once again generously sponsoring a delicious lunch for the residents and care-givers. Looking forward to the next collaboration!

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