Home is where the security is
Story by Jacinth Toh, Corporate Communications, Singapore Red Cross
Take a step into the home of 50-year-old Zamry Bin Abdul Karim and you would think his house is managed by popular Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo – renowned for her meticulous organising methods.
In Zamry’s house, all the items are sorted and aligned neatly. A neat house facilitates navigating around as Zamry is visually impaired.
Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was seven, Zamry suffered from partial vision. The doctor predicted that he will completely lose his vision one day and advised Zamry that it was in his best interests that he did whatever he wanted to do while he had his vision, and Zamry did just that, and beyond.
In the span of 20 years, Zamry became a sports specialist and was involved in cycling, mountain climbing, rock climbing, dragon boat racing, canoeing, whitewater rafting and horse riding. Despite losing his vision at 27, he contributed to society by fundraising for causes and he continued cycling and rock climbing, albeit with a partner.
Unfortunately, Zamry’s active life came crashing down when he was involved in an accident with a taxi in June 2017. As a result, he suffered from a broken leg, and the bone of the foot protruded out. He had to undergo four operations. Following his discharge, he had to endure the pain in his lower foot due to degeneration of the bone. As his doctor certified him unfit to work for life, he was unable to continue working as a massage therapist following the accident and was forced to go into early retirement. Zamry had to undergo a gruelling four months’ rehabilitation to learn to walk again.
After his discharge from hospital in December, Zamry lived in his new home and has been living independently ever since. He speaks with pride about his house as it was fully paid for.
In September 2018, some parts of Singapore were hit by a power outage, and Zamry’s neighbourhood was one of those affected. Zamry woke up but his phone lines were dysfunctional and he could not contact anyone to get him out of the house.
The incident served as a wakeup call for him to get an alert system at home to ensure his safety, particularly when he was living alone with impaired vision. After a few phone calls, he was referred to the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and SRC recommended that he install the Home Monitoring and Eldercare (HoME+) system.
The HoME+ is a monitoring and alert system service launched by SRC in 2017 to help seniors living on their own. Comprising a helpline for non-emergency situations, a panic button, motion sensors, alert and response system for home safety, HoME+ tracks movements in the house through infrared and alerts responders on duty when the system detects unusual movements.
“It makes me feel better. I know that there will always be someone looking out for me and helping me,” he explained.
As a result of the sensitivity and precision of HoME+ system, Zamry usually gives SRC a heads-up if he leaves home so it would not be a cause for concern.
Despite all that happened to him, Zamry embraces a positive outlook and is determined to live his life to the fullest. He said, “I am happy that I have come to a full circle in life.”