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Personality Spotlight

22 year-old volunteer, Arthur Leong engages nursing home residents in botany, arts and crafts, culinary arts and karaoke

Published on 10 Jan 2024

A regular face at NTUC Health Nursing Home (Tampines), Arthur, 22 who has been volunteering for slightly over a year with the Nursing Home, has maintained a volunteering schedule of a minimum of 3-4 days a week. He has clocked 170 hours of volunteering just last year and won the Superstar Award for volunteers, an NTUC Health award given to one who has volunteered the most number of hours within the Nursing Home.

In April 2023, Arthur taught our residents Kokedama, the art of growing bonsai plants in a moss ball. The session opened our residents’ eyes to different ways of growing plants and now they frequently tell our staff how much they look forward to watering their Kokedama plants every day.

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Arthur helping a senior with his Kokedama (left) and Tham Soon Yuen, 94, with his new Kokedama (right).

Arthur also shares his expertise in crafts, teaching residents to make decoupage bags and acrylic pour art. He has also brought his culinary know-how to the Nursing Home, conducting cooking and baking sessions and introducing new recipes for the residents to try out.

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Arthur assisting a resident with her choice of flowers for a decoupage art bag (left) and Goh Kim Kiaw, 85, with her completed bag (right).

Arthur’s dedication has also gone beyond the Nursing Home. He organised and sponsored a KTV outing for residents - a karaoke competition that was held at the nearby 7th Heaven KTV and Cafe at Tampines SAFRA. The event offered residents an opportunity to showcase their vocal talents, and fostered a sense of camaraderie through music. The evening concluded with a buffet dinner where the residents bonded over a hearty meal.

When asked why he spends so much time on the seniors at the Nursing Home, Arthur shares that his motivation for volunteering stems from the personal experience of losing his grandfather, whom he wishes he could have spent more time with. Despite the frequent falls and respiratory issues his grandfather endured, the family thought that he would live beyond 100 years of age, but it was not to be. That was a life experience that changed Arthur’s outlook and priorities in life.

Arthur started volunteering at NTUC Health Nursing Home (Tampines) to relive his experiences with his grandfather, and he channelled his remorse for not spending enough time with him into volunteering. What he had not expected was how through the volunteering sessions, Arthur developed a genuine connection with the residents.

78-year old resident Victor Lee is one of the many seniors who have grown close to this young man. He shares, “Arthur is my good friend now. He really cares for me and orders food for me. He is one who is not afraid to help others. He always asks me to consult him if I have problems.”

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Arthur and Victor baking pineapple tarts together in preparation for Chinese New Year 2024.

With every volunteering session, Arthur sees the positive difference he can make in the lives of the residents and the joy on their faces in the activities he brings to the Nursing Home. This motivates him to constantly explore new activities he can put together to engage the residents.

Arthur embraces NTUC Health’s approach to provide person-centred care and tailoring programmes/activities to the individual preferences of our residents. He designed various cognitive games tailored to residents that require higher mental stimulation such as table-top puzzles that challenge the participants and contribute to their cognitive and mental health.

He has been a shining example for other volunteers and the residents, bringing joy and new experiences to the lives of those he now considers his extended family. Beyond that, he has connected with many of them in a profound way as individuals.

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