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Catholic-run elderly home hit by funding crunch in Malaysia

Shelter is facing financial constraints as fewer people are willing to give donations amid the pandemic

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: August 18, 2021 05:07 AM GMT

Updated: August 18, 2021 06:31 AM GMT

Catholic-run elderly home hit by funding crunch in Malaysia

Home of Peace was built by the Catholic Welfare Services Council Sarawak and is run by the Sisters of St. Francis of Sarawak. (Photo: Facebook)

A Catholic-run shelter home for the elderly in Malaysia is facing a funding crunch amid rising demand for its services.

Home of Peace was built by the Catholic Welfare Services Council Sarawak and is run by the Sisters of St. Francis of Sarawak.

The home is facing financial constraints as fewer people are willing to give donations because of the pandemic.

“Now we are only left with a few regular donors and benefactors. Luckily, we have Friends of Hope, otherwise how to survive? Friends of Hope at least gives us some relief,” Sister Ursula Lian, matron of the home, said in an interview with Today’s Catholic, the official publication of Kuching Archdiocese.

Catholic Welfare Services Council Sarawak is attached to Kuching Archdiocese in Sarawak, a Malaysian state on Borneo, the largest island in Asia.

Friends of Hope is an initiative launched by Home of Peace last year at the height of the pandemic to mobilize funds for the home.

These are challenging times and, with more people applying to enter the home, we may need to increase the number of staff

Despite the pandemic, many elderly people are seeking shelter at the home.

“These are challenging times and, with more people applying to enter the home, we may need to increase the number of staff to serve the home and its residents,” said Sister Lian.

Established in 2009, Home of Peace currently houses 34 residents, of whom three are bedridden and 13 wheelchair-bound.

After its renovation in 2019, Home of Peace started admitting retirees with monthly pensions as well as the elderly who can contribute to maintenance costs of the home.

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Even after 12 years of existence, many people are still unaware of the home. “They only know when they run around looking for a place to put their elderly parents. Even Catholics do not know we have a Catholic home for the elderly,” Sister Lian said.

A dedicated 23-member team looks after the inmates, some of whom suffer from dementia and require special care. “I am very happy that all of them are very committed, reliable and responsible people,” she said.

Besides their physical needs, daily prayers form part of the life of inmates. “They are very devoted to their prayer life. They pray daily, with rosary prayers in the morning and Divine Mercy prayers every afternoon,” Sister Lian added.

The home needs urgent repair work on its pipes, toilets, sinks, lighting and wheelchairs

As physical Mass is not conducted because of the pandemic, the inmates attend livestreamed Mass on Sundays and other special occasions.

Since the treatment room is cramped, Sister Ursula suggested converting the pavilion, built in 2015, to a multi-purpose area.

“It can be used as the residents’ recreational corner with a TV where they can have coffee/tea breaks. At the same time the nurses can check their blood pressure and TPR there too because the present nurses’ area is too small and congested,” she said.

The home needs urgent repair work on its pipes, toilets, sinks, lighting and wheelchairs.

“When it rains heavily, you can see leaks everywhere,” said Sister Lian.

* For more details on Home of Peace, contact Sister Ursula Lian at 018-240-1337, 014-394-2425 (office).

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