When Old Age Becomes a Burden

You may have seen Mr Goh Tai Lin’s picture in some of KDF’s publications and on our website. An amiable old man with a kindly smile, it is difficult to imagine that initially he staunchly refused dialysis treatment as he did not want to become a burden to his family so late in life.

At 87 years old, Mr Goh is currently KDF’s oldest patient. Looking at him, one would assume he was a seasoned patient who has been on dialysis for a long time. In actuality, it was only in year 2005 that he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure; he was already 79 years old at that time.

When people first found out about his condition, they scoffed at him and remarked that, for him, dialysis was merely a waste of money since he was already of such old age. Taking these comments to heart, Mr Goh refused dialysis treatment completely as he didn’t want to be a burden to his kids, nor wanted to “pay to suffer”. He was also convinced that it was money gone to waste.

When Despair is All That's Left

Entering the dialysis centre on a Friday morning, my colleague and I spotted an elderly lady sitting at the waiting area, pulling socks over her bony feet. That turned out to be our interviewee for the day, Mdm Cheong Chwee Huay. 

As we walked a short distance to our interview venue, Mdm Cheong explains that she gets cold easily, while gesturing to the double layer of clothing she usually puts on. With her thin frame, 60 year old Mdm Cheong cuts a frail figure as she advanced slowly with the aid of a walking stick. Settling down, we waited for Mdm Cheong to catch her breath before continuing.

Diagnosed with end-stage renal failure some time in 2004, Mdm Cheong has been undergoing dialysis with KDF for almost a decade. “Time flies, huh!” remarked the chatty Mdm Cheong. It was during a routine health check at a hospital that Mdm Cheong became aware of her condition. Initially reluctant to undergo dialysis, she eventually relented upon the advice and insistence of her doctor, who urged her to commence dialysis soon. A lifelong struggle with kidney disease thus began.

Living On For My Children

The route from the bus stop to the care centre takes merely tens of metres but the short journey left Mdm Wong Wai Leng breathless and tired. Mdm Wong explains that her health has deteriorated significantly in the last couple of months, which caused her strength to wane. The toil on her body was evident with every rickety step she takes, yet one could sense the hint of joy emanating from Mdm Wong’s voice as she gingerly carried the piping hot soup and steamed meat that she has prepared. It is the day that she gets to see her beloved son at the care centre. Getting to spend time with her son and feeding him mouthfuls of her lovingly brewed soup, this is the happiest day of the week for Mdm Wong, and also the moment she anticipates the most.

Helping Hand for a Second Chance at Life

Unemployed. Alone. Illiterate. Uncertain of his future due to his deteriorating health. No savings. Those were the characteristics that described Mr Ng Boon, 59, when he was first diagnosed with kidney failure 2 years ago. Forced to quit his job as a delivery man a few years before as it was too physically demanding, Mr Ng was not able to find work opportunities since. With these issues that plagued him, Mr Ng was fearful and unsure of whether he was able to undergo dialysis treatments as the cost was way beyond what he could afford.Upon meeting Mr Ng for the first time, he looks just like the average middle-aged or retired man at the coffee shop. With his happy-go-lucky demeanour and pleasant attitude towards others, it is hard to imagine that Mr Ng is a kidney failure patient who had to endure adverse circumstances in his life.

His Call for Independence

At the age of 30, one could be fresh out of medical school with a promising career ahead, or married with two kids and a doting wife. Yet another could have just been promoted to manager and looks set to ascend the corporate ladder.

About Us

The Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF) is a non-profit charitable organisation, established in February 1996.

KDF provides subsidised dialysis treatment to needy members of our community so that these patients will not be deprived of treatment.

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