She wants to rely on herself

She has a history of blacking out.

Two months ago, Madam Doreen Lim had another fainting spell.

She recalled: "I suddenly felt giddy (standing outside the toilet) and fell."

This time, it took the 84-year-old a while to recover.

All she remember was lying on the floor, unable to stand or reach the grab bars in her one-room rental flat.

So Madam Lim did the only thing she could - she slowly crawled to the door to call for help.

A neighbour heard her, went to check and got two others to help.

Madam Lim's shuffling gait makes her vulnerable to falling and there had been other mishaps at home.

In August 2010, she slipped on the same spot and fractured her left jaw. Since then, Madam Lim has fallen at least seven times.

But the fiercely independent senior refuses to be hospitalised or join a sheltered home as she says she is okay.

That is because she wants to rely on herself, even in old age.

The public assistance recipient, who is single, was referred to Touch Home Care in late 2010.

Now, lunch and dinner are delivered to her doorstep. A nurse visits weekly and there is someone to help with housekeeping. A physiotherapist also walks Madam Lim through exercises.

In addition, occupational therapist Jacinda Soh made changes to Madam Lim's flat to suit her needs.

They include:

- A lighted door bell so she knows when visitors are at the door, since her hearing is poor.

- Higher mattress for her to easily sit and get up.

- Alternative door locking system to make it easier for her to get help.

For Madam Lim, being independent yet sociable means everything.

"I have to be downstairs (at the Senior Activity Centre) at 2pm," she kept reminding the reporter. "So I can have tea and chit-chat with friends..."