In an effort to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the community, a group of seven postal delivery workers in Singapore signed up to volunteer for a new pilot program, called SingPost, in which they check on elderly people during their regular postal routes in Ang Mo Kio and Henderson.
“Postmen have been a ubiquitous part of the community for more than a century. The Postman Home Visits initiative is a natural extension of their service to the community, as it offers kind-hearted staff the opportunity to do good during the course of their work,” said SingPost’s chief executive of postal services Woo Keng Leong.
The seven postal workers received training for the program and were given checklists for each patient on their routes. At least once a week, they stop by the homes of these elderly men and women, make note of their physical condition, ask if they’ve been eating, check that they are doing well and have everything they need, and spend a little time with them to stave off loneliness. If anything goes wrong or seems “off,” the postal workers can contact a social service agency to get help right away.
“I come here and check in on them once a week at least because they are lonely,” said Madam Seah Seow Peng, who visits 83- and 84-year-old sisters Thi Lai Lee and Teh Lai Wam during her regular route. “We are not family but we met by fate. There is this connection between us.”
During the year-long pilot program, seven volunteers visited 11 seniors at least once a week. SingPost worked with AMKFSC Community Services and social enterprise NTUC Health Silver Ace to identify vulnerable elderly people in the areas where the postal workers make their deliveries.
So far, the program seems to be going off without a hitch. SingPost has now launched their Postman Home Visits across Singapore and will begin carrying their plans out in the coming months. If all goes well, the service may soon be available to vulnerable seniors in other parts of the world who don’t have anyone else to check in on them.
“We know the residents well in the neighbourhoods,” said 53-year-old Abass Sadkoon. “The elderly are also quite friendly and appreciative of our visits. Even when we are busy, we manage to squeeze some time to check on them.”
We think this is an awesome idea for protecting our seniors from harm, getting them help in their times of need, and helping them to feel like they have at least one person in this world who cares about them.
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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?