Mdm Lim Eng Kiew takes the bus to Lion Befrienders Active Ageing Centre occasionally to engage in various activities.
How can we be more proactive in showing care for senior commuters? Three seniors who commute on public transport regularly, shared a variety challenging and heartwarming experiences.
The Caring Senior
Mdm Lim Eng Kiew, 70, has been a lifelong user of public transport. She prefers taking the bus, finding it more convenient than the MRT to get to her usual destinations, such as the hospital or the supermarket.
Mdm Lim Eng Kiew at a bus stop
Due to a bad back, Mdm Lim has limited mobility. “It takes me a while to move to the doors when the bus stops,” she explained.
Generally, Mdm Lim feels that commuters are considerate. “I’ve been helped by other commuters many times before and I will never forget the experience and the people who have helped me,” she said.
As an active volunteer with the Lions Befrienders, a Social Service Agency that looks after the social and mental welfare of seniors, Mdm Lim practices compassion in her daily life.
Mdm Lim is a caring commuter herself. “I try to help others as well,” she elaborated. “I’ll offer my seat to those older than me, and then a younger person will offer their seat to me.”
When asked about how fellow commuters could make her bus journeys more pleasant, Mdm Lim responded that it would be helpful if they could give way and let her board first.
The Commuting Couple
Mr Robert Teo, 81, started taking public transport when he retired and stopped driving about 20 years ago.
“It was a steep learning curve,” he said. “But once I was familiar with the MRT routes and the bus services, it became much easier. My children also taught me how to find the shortest routes by using apps.”
Mr Robert Teo and Mdm Helen Lee at the bus interchange
His wife, Mdm Helen Lee, 78, is also a regular commuter, and frequently accompanies him to various destinations.
“I think people are more considerate these days,” she said. “Most times, when it’s a busy train or bus, someone will give us their seat. But if it’s really too crowded, especially during peak hours, we would rather wait for the next one.”
Mr Teo also agreed. “A few times I’ve seen someone helping a senior carry their heavy bags up the bus. That makes me feel good, too!”
They both urged younger commuters to be more patient. “Sometimes he walks a bit slowly,” said Mdm Lee, referring to Mr Teo. “So, if we hold up the line or block the way a bit, I hope others can be understanding.”
Cultivating a Caring Mindset
By embracing a mindset of empathy and consideration during our commutes, we can transform the commuting experience into a pleasant and joyful one for everyone.