Living alone has its perks but for the elderly, it can be risky.
If there is an accident, or if they fall ill, it may take days or weeks before anyone finds out. By then, it may be too late.
This is where Douglas Hyams comes in with Be Safe Services, set up a few years ago. For RM40 a month, or RM10 a week, one can subscribe to the service and the 54-year-old will check on you to ensure that you are alright.
All Hyams needs is a phone number. His task is to call the number at an appointed time daily to check on his clients.
“If the call is not answered, I will contact the next of kin.”
Madam Goh commended Hyams for his effort in helping to keep senior citizens living alone safe.
“He is very dependable and has never failed to call me, even when he is not well. As a long-time client, I must say that it feels good to know that someone besides my family is looking out for me.”
Some of his clients have even become friends. “While some calls are brief, others are long and filled with laughter,” Hyams said.
He began Be Safe Services when he had to quit his job to look after his two special-needs siblings after his mother died.
“I realised that elderly people living on their own need someone to check on them regularly to ensure they are safe.”
He recounted “painfully sad tales” of aged people dying without anyone being aware of it. Just recently, a 79-year-old woman’s body was found in a house in Senai, Johor. Malaysia will become an ageing society within the next decade and a service such as this will become essential.
A study by the University of Granada showed that the preference for privacy and independence are some of the reasons the elderly choose to live alone.
Given that Hyams no longer has a steady income, a church is helping by giving him a monthly ration of food, a small amount of money as well as diapers for his siblings.
A close family friend had encouraged him to start the service.
“I stopped working to take care of my siblings as I could not afford to pay someone to look after them.”
Those who would like to subscribe to Hyams’ services can reach him at 012-356 9368. – The Sun