Old and home alone: 'I'm just waiting to die'

Old and home alone: 'I'm just waiting to die'
Mr J. Chua has problems moving around because of pain in his legs.

Sitting on a broken swivel chair, the 69-year-old man passes most of his time by watching television in his bare one-room flat.

He occasionally lights a cigarette.

They are his only pleasures, but have become a luxury ever since the chronic smoker was forced to stop working in March last year.

Showing his slightly swollen feet, Mr J. Chua laments that his life has gone downhill after his gout (a type of arthritis) worsened.

Working odd jobs his whole life, the primary-school educated man had been suffering from pain in his legs for years, but it became unbearable last year.

Mr Chua lives alone in a rental flat at Beach Road after his mother died eight years ago.

He did not wish to be identified by his full name nor have his face shown as he did not want his friends to know about his plight.

He said in Mandarin: "I used to go for karaoke with my friends, go out for good food.

"It's not that I don't want to go any more, but with my legs like this, I really can't."

Mr Chua's situation worsened after he suffered a fall at home last December.

Unable to stand on his own, he called a friend who lived nearby, but she was working.

She managed to rush over to his flat with her sons only two hours later. They called for an ambulance.

Since January, Mr Chua has been in and out of Tan Tock Seng Hospital at least eight times.

He now keeps a well-charged mobile phone - an old Nokia model - in his pocket at all times in case of an emergency.

There are also alarm cords in the living room and toilet which can be activated during an emergency.

"It sounds bad, but I'm just waiting for death. If I fall down and become unconscious, it can't be helped," he said matter-of-factly.

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