Ageing Lines: Stories from Caregivers and Elderly Patients

This is a space dedicated to caregivers and elderly patients, created with anonymous collaborations from the WONCA Special Interest Group on Ageing and Health. This section includes inspiring anecdotes for the simple purpose of adding value and quality to older patient’s lives.

April 2021

"Many family physicians in Singapore work in community hospitals which provide convalescence and rehabilitation care to seniors who are in their post acute phase of illness. My team and I work closely with link workers (called well being co-ordinators in Singapore) who provide social prescribing to improve the well-being of our patients.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores, the social isolation of our patients were severely aggravated. Mobile technology and social media became an essential means of maintaining social connections. Entry to shops and supermarkets require the use of contact tracing apps that run on QR codes and mobile phones. Most of our patients are unfamiliar with the use of apps on mobile phones. Our link workers decided to do something about it and introduced e-social prescribing. Using the principles of elder-friendly pedagogy, we designed and developed simple lessons that teach smartphone skills such as Connecting to Wi-Fi, QR Code Scanning and use of WhatsApp for staying in touch with friends and family. Much to everyone's surprise, many of our elderly patients responded enthusiastically. The greatest reward for our team was to see the gleam of pride and confidence in the eyes of our patients when they whipped out their smartphones and started calling and messaging their friends and family. They are an inspiration and reminded us that one is never too old to learn.”

March 2021

"I have a 97 year old patient who tells me that one of the joys of his life is to watch the sunset light up trees outside his bedroom window.
We often underestimate how much pleasure nature can bring our older patients. Perhaps we should encourage them or their family members to get outside, or place them so they can look through the window, or if that is not possible, to have a pot plant or some flowers nearby to give them some pleasure."