Under the watchful eyes of Mr. Lee, in his 70s, people cleaned and decluttered his one-room rental flat. Ms. Sek Ah Suan, a Senior Medical Social Work Associate at Bright Hill Evergreen Home, had gathered five volunteers and another staff to get the flat ready for his discharge. “Mr. Lee did not have the physical strength to do the cleaning and did not have any social support.” Suan explained.
Such dedication in serving the elderly is what Suan displays consistently in her work at our Home. After 23 years in the IT industry, Suan switched to the social service sector after graduating with a degree in Counselling and Community Work. The satisfaction she got from volunteering as a senior-befriender, spurred her to a mid-career switch to the Social Service sector in 2012. Till now, Suan still finds her work as a social worker a fulfilling one. However, this has not always been the case.
Three months into her new job, she was overwhelmed. Facing a totally different environment from her IT days, Suan did not expect the challenges presented. “In IT, I was only dealing with computers and meeting clients’ needs in software applications, but in the new role, I quickly realised that each client and his next-of-kin came with their own set of values, social backgrounds and expectations of care.” Suan felt that she was not competent enough to help the clients and thought about quitting. However, her then supervisor gave her the much-needed guidance and soon, the smiles of gratitude she received from the clients made her remember why she wanted to be a social worker in the first place. “I was moved when I saw family members showing concern for their elderly loved ones despite their own challenges. There were cases when the elderly may not even remember them anymore.”
To new social workers who could be discouraged, Suan shared, “Each challenge is an opportunity for learning and team members are always there to provide the support you need to continue the journey with your clients.”
This article is also published in Evergreen, a quarterly publication of Bright Hill Evergreen Home. Click here to download the complete PDF version of Issue 1.