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  • Depression in Singapore (December 17, 2014)"
    Source: Happy TV Listen here: Lack of appetite, trouble sleep and suicidal thoughts – these are just some of the many symptoms a person suffering from depression might experience. According to Dr Christopher Cheok, who is Head of Psychological Medicine at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, roughly 1 in 10 depressed patients take their own lives. But what causes someone to develop depression? Find out more about the different types and causes of depression in this video, in which O'Joy's Executive Director, Jin Kiat is a speaker.
  • Channel News Asia: Home Alone (October 20, 2014)"
    Source: ChannelNewsAsia - Home Alone Channel NewsAsia's widely acclaimed investigative documentary featured O'Joy Care Services Counsellor Tan Eng Choon and his client, Mr Tan Han Chiew on Episode 2, Home Alone. The episode addresses the pressing issue of elderly social isolation in the midst of an ageing population of Singapore. Mr Tan gave his experience of isolation and depression which nearly ended in suicide, fortunately resolved by the swift intervention of Counsellor Tan.
  • Ministry of Communications and Information - Volunteering with O'Joy Care Services (October 10, 2014)"
    Source: Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) facebook page "Our MCI colleagues went down to volunteer with O'Joy Care Services today and visited some rental flats. We had an enjoyable afternoon talking to the residents, who also watched with amusement as we navigated the flats with our mops and brooms. We hoped our efforts had spread a little MCI joy to them today! TGIF!" -- Ministry of Communications and Information.
  • FACEUP: Soh Hua (October 01, 2014)"
    Source: FACEUP, a narrative website that dispels ageing stereotypes, featuring our active participants of HOA. Eighty-six-year-old Soh Hua feels she is the happiest now, even though her leg is weak but she has a clean bill of health. “My children have grown up and they are very filial to me,” said the mother of eight, grandmother of 20 and great-grandmother of four. However, times were tough when she was younger. She recalled that when she was about 16 years old, she would go to the hills in China, where she hailed from, in the cold weather to chop firewood for her family with a group of friends and bring them home on her shoulder. Once she encountered footprints of a tiger and its faeces. She suspected the tiger was hiding in a nearby den but that didn’t matter or that she was scared, as she said she still had to get the firewood. One consolation was knowing that the tiger didn’t venture out during the morning because of the sun and would only come out at night. Besides this, she also had to shuck oysters and clams to bring home for her family, collect salt at the beach so she could sun them and then later sell them, and pick vegetables in her family farm for her family. When she came to Singapore in the 1950s at the tender age of 26 by boat with her five-year-old daughter, her role evolved into a full-time housewife, tending to her brood of children and her husband who at the time was working in a factory that produces furniture supplies.
  • FACEUP: Ah Lian (October 01, 2014)"
    Source: FACEUP, a narrative website that dispels ageing stereotypes, featuring our active participants of HOA. Ah Lian was one of a few female bus drivers to join SBS back in the 1970s. Today, there are a lot more female drivers, she said. The mother of three and grandmother of eight shared that before she started driving, she was given clothes to sew at home but the money just wasn't enough. So one day, she saw the advertisement for bus drivers and decided to apply. The 75-year-old got paid S$10.50 per day as well as overtime pay, which she said was “a lot of money at the time”. She made over S$1,000 a month and it could buy a lot of things including helping with her children’s education. Her husband was also supplementing the household expenses from his pay as a lorry driver. She shared that one of her bus routes was from Bukit Merah to Kaki Bukit. Once a week she would get off, but she would continue driving, taking over people’s shifts if possible so she could earn extra money. “It was tough work but I needed the money. Sometimes customers would scold me and I would just be quiet.” And to make matters worse, buses back then had no air condition. Ten years later, Ah Lian stopped working when her daughter came back to Singapore from her studies abroad and persuaded her to stop.
  • FACEUP: Choong Hiong (October 01, 2014)"
    Source: FACEUP, a narrative website that dispels ageing stereotypes, featuring our active participants of HOA. In a sea of Chinese-speakers who are unable to converse in English at VWO O'Joy Care Services, grandfather of five Choong Hiong, 86, is a rare find. He speaks fluent English as well as Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese and Malay. “In the old days, before World War II, I didn’t take any Chinese courses. If you went to a Chinese school during those days, it would mean it was all in Chinese and if you went to an English school, it was all in English. I went to English school in Penang as I grew up in Malaysia.” His English skills proved useful when he landed in the Army and worked as an interpreter for British soldiers in Malaysia in the 1940s when he was in his 20s. He was there for less than a year. “I didn’t do much work as we didn’t meet any Communists.” He remembered that in December, he followed the Army into the jungle for two weeks to capture Communists but that never happen. After the Army, he became a resettlement officer in Johor, issuing ID cards for a village surrounded by barbwire so they could travel outside with ease. After a two-year stint, he couldn’t find a decent job in Malaysia and decided to come to Singapore, where he joined the Singapore Police Force’s traffic police motor squad for two years. After that, he became a salesman for Van Houten Far East selling cocoa powder, chocolate and canned products to Indian stores and provision shops. He shared that he did that for 10 years from 1953 and got a handsome commission plus salary. He also sold food flavourings and chemicals for industries. “Money was quite good,” Choong Hiong said of his work. But it also took him away from his family as he had to travel, sometimes being away for a month’s time. He visited Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak twice a year to take orders. “I would have to take a boat to Labuan in Sabah, then to Jesselton. There, I would visit my father’s friend and have lunch or dinner with him. Then it was off to Sandakan, Kudat, Tawau and then back to Labuan. I would then take a bus to Brunei, and then later to Miri, Sarawak and Kuching. I would also hit Sibu and then go back to Kuching, before I headed home to Singapore.”
  • FACEUP: Ang Ee (October 01, 2014)"
    Source: FACEUP, a narrative website that dispels ageing stereotypes, featuring our active participants of HOA. When Ang Ee was in her 20s and married, she shared that she would clean the houses of British soldiers as they would usually come to Singapore for two years and then leave. “It also would sometimes be short-term if their amahs (housekeepers) have left and I would come in halfway.” She would sometimes do the cooking, but mainly the washing of the clothes, cleaning the floor, ironing and more. The 85-year-old remembers, “I would have to polish the floor every two weeks with oil. There were no mops and I had to get down on the floor and clean. It was hard work.” She would start usually around 9am and leave around 5pm. She shared of one of the soldiers’ wives was very difficult to a point where a lot of amahs left her employment. “She was very demanding and often insisted on having the floor washed only with hot water, however, I never used hot water and she later accepted it. I was the only amah that got along with her. She and her husband always treated me well.” Ang Ee said that when she was pregnant with her first child and was suffering from morning sickness, the wife told her not to work until after she gave birth. She hired a replacement but still continued paying her for six months! “I really don’t know why she liked me so much.” She also shared that the wife would often put coins on the floor for her daughter to play and Ang Ee would collect them and put them properly on the table. One day, the woman’s daughter wanted ice-cream and the wife said she had no money. “I remembered the coins and told her, no, there is money.” After four years tolling as an amah and cleaned a total of four houses, Ang Ee decided to call it quits to look after her child. Even as a housewife, she continued to find ways to earn extra income to support her burgeoning household filled with 10 children. She made kueh-kueh like curry puffs, tapioca kueh, pau, yam kueh, prawn fritters and crispy beancurd, and got her children to sell them for S$0.05 a piece. One day she earned S$25! Looking back on her life, the grandmother of 30 and great-grandmother of nine smiled and said that she has no regrets.
  • TODAY - Weekend Planner (September 06, 2014)"
    Source: TODAY Take a moonlit walk with your favourite radio DJs. Proceeds for the event, organized by YES 93.3 FM, Love 97.2FM and Capital 95.8FM, and sponsored by Chan Brothers Travel, go to O'Joy Care Services, which helps elderly in need. Participants can choose to pledge S$6, S$10 or S$50 to the beneficiary.
  • Teo Puay Leng on "Taboo of elderly abuse" (May 26, 2014)"
    Source: 93.8LIVE Clinical Director Teo Puay Leng went on air on the 26th of May for the radio station 93.8LIVE programme, Talkback. The taboo of elderly abuse was discussed, and she provided her valuable experience and insight regarding the topic.
  • MSF to strengthen legal framework to protect elderly from abuse, neglect (May 21, 2014)"
    Source: Today SINGAPORE — With the number of people here in the above-65 age bracket projected to triple by 2030, moves to better protect the elderly, as well as those with special needs, from abuse and neglect are in the works. Strengthening the service and legal frameworks to deal with such cases as well as intervening earlier are measures being looked at, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) yesterday in its response to the President’s Address. Social workers and lawyers whom TODAY spoke to welcomed such reinforcements, saying the move was a timely one. Last year, more parents applied for Personal Protection Orders against their children for physical or financial abuse, among other reasons. Members of Parliament have also called for raising public awareness of elderly abuse and for the Government to introduce more laws to protect seniors. For instance, during the Committee of Supply debate in March, Dr Lily Neo called for laws that have "more teeth" to prosecute perpetrators. Unlike countries such as the United States, which has the Elder Justice Act to protect the elderly from abuse, neglect and exploitation, Singapore does not have similar dedicated legislation - although the MSF has issued guidelines on how to identify such cases. Instead, avenues for recourse are scatted across various statutes, such as the Women's Charter Act, the Maintenance of Parents Act and the Mental Disorders and Treatment Act. Seniors can also protect themselves and their assets under the Mental Capacity Act, the Deceased's Estate and Lasting Power of Attorney. Having a more robust framework or a dedicated legislation would benefit seniors who are single or do not have family looking out for them, said Asia Law Corporation senior lawyer Harry Sim, whose practice focuses on legal rights for seniors. In addition, he suggested setting up an agency that looks after the dignity and interests of the elderly, similar to the Adult Protection Services in the US, which provides protective service to people above 65 and those with disabilities. Mr Choo Jin Kiat, Executive Director of O'Joy Care Services, felt that more should be set up and more resources should be channeled into preventive work. 'Abuse sometimes comes about due to the distress of the caregiver, and (identifying) such signs could help prevent the elderly from abuse,' he said. Among other initiatives in the second half of the Government's term, the MSF will increase its support and funding for the social service sector and ramp up efforts to groom the next generation of social service leaders. It will also roll out the Social Service Net to provide "seamless assistance" and facilitate long-term planning.
  • A life cycle that includes the "Fourth Age" (April 25, 2014)"
    Source: AgelessVoice ​ Picture: O'Joy Care Services' Executive Director, Choo Jin Kiat ​ We often hear about the Third Age, but rarely do we hear about the “Fourth Age”. Ageless Voice speaks to Choo Jin Kiat, executive director of voluntary welfare organisation in Singapore, O’Joy Care Services, about what it is and why it is important: What is the Fourth Age? "The Fourth Age is when people become dependent, either physically or mentally, on other people. Sometimes this age is called the old-old group (the Third Age focuses on the young-old where they are still healthy and active) and also includes the oldest-old – those in their 90s and above. I look at this as a life cycle; when you are born and your parents look after you, and then you grow up. As you get older, and get into the Fourth Age, you come back to being looked after." Do you feel not much attention gets placed on this segment of the population? "The Fourth Age is not getting as much attention as the Third Age. There isn’t a Council of Fourth Age as there is one for the Third Age. In the US and overseas, people tend to think of ageing as very positive and they suppress the negative portions about ageing and hope they won’t go into the Fourth Age. Certainly, it is not nice to see oneself in a wheelchair. Society sees it as a burden so in my view, the Fourth Age is not discussed as it would mean one has to put in resources." So what advice would you give to engaging the Fourth Age? "Before we even talk about engaging the Fourth Age, we need to talk about the need to engage the Fourth Age and why. We know that those in the Fourth Age will increase as a result of the growing ageing population and they are living longer, as a result of vast improvements in our healthcare system. Before, many did not live past 80 years old. I will rather start engaging the older population at the Third Age when they are still active and basically prepare them to enter the Fourth Age. From a life cycle perspective, one will certainly go into this age. Hence, one must be mentally and physically prepared. We need to bring an awareness that there is a dependency stage and where one should be “pampered”. Sadly, a lot of people call this stage a burden. We can look at it this way – in the First Age, when parents take care of their children, it is a burden but done with love and joy. So now that the parents have aged, shouldn’t the grown up “baby” take care of parents in the same manner? In fact, those in their Fourth Age should think of this, as it is their right. Sadly most don’t see this and some even consider euthanasia. Euthanasia is a choice ­– but in a life cycle, life will end naturally, so why kill oneself? O’Joy has a membership programme for the community called the Health Oriented Ageing (HOA) programme where it involves those who are in the active- and dependent-age group. We want to keep them active and enjoy themselves even though they may be dependent. The young-old HOA volunteers, also known as facilitators, are involved by working with the old-old so they can understand the Fourth Age perspective. When one is still able to, one should ask oneself how one wants to live one’s Fourth Age. I believe the best way to die is to enjoy every moment, be aware of the inevitable and finally pass on peaceful."
  • Role reversal in caregiving (April 01, 2014)"
    Source: StraitsTimes SINGAPORE - Watching her 66-year-old dementia-stricken mother struggling to recall her name two weeks ago was the latest blow in a two-year caregiving journey for social entrepreneur Gan Ee Bee, 39. It started when she found her mother, Madam Lim Sey Low, and her five-year-old nephew in tears as they were roaming around on the wrong floor of their apartment block. The family lives on the sixth floor, but the pair were unable to differentiate between the numerals six and nine on the lift panel and panicked. For Ms Gan, it was a shock to see her once-vivacious mother struggle with dementia. Madam Lim used to good-naturedly boss around staff and guests while running a youth hostel. "Settling into the mindset that my mother is like this now, when she has always been very capable, was difficult," Ms Gan says. She has been making tweaks to Madam Lim's routine and lifestyle, such as replacing her button-up blouses to shifts that can be easily put on over the head. Grown-up children coping with the role-reversal experience of becoming caregivers to their parents struggle in some areas. The issues include trying to maintain their parents' dignity while helping them with day-to-day tasks, carving time from work and dealing with the demands of a sandwiched class having both elderly parents and young children to support. For the adult child, there would be initial shock at the parent's illness, particularly if the parent used to be healthy, says Ms Christine Goh, head of senior services at Care Corner, who is in her 40s. But counsellors say the initial shock of the role reversal seldom lingers. "Singaporeans are very matter-of-fact. They think, what is the problem, let's solve it and move on," says clinical director Teo Puay Leng, 50, of O'Joy Care Services. Resentment towards the role reversal and having to care for the parent, if any, arises among siblings rather than be directed towards the parent, says senior medical social worker Teo Swee Ngim from SingHealth Polyclinics, who is in her 30s. This happens if the family cannot agree on which child is the main caregiver, coupled with the stress of a sudden onset of illness such as stroke, dementia or amputation from diabetes. It helps if each sibling is assigned a role, like in the family of Mohamed Jasni Daud. The cleaner, 52, lives with his mother Patimah Askar, 76, who is suffering from osteoporosis and high blood pressure, with Alzheimer's disease slowly setting in. He and his six siblings split the workload: A younger sister, a housewife, takes care of Madam Patimah for most of the day, when Mr Jasni is at work. The other siblings share their mother's living and medical expenses. They also turn to the Caregiving Welfare Association, which provides the family with food rations. Mr Jasni says it was "very upsetting" to see his once-active mother take a fall 10 years ago, which reduced her mobility because she still wants to do what she used to do. She kept straining herself to do household chores, despite his repeated attempts to dissuade her. To that end, he "assigns" her less strenuous tasks, such as folding laundry. Mr Jasni takes pride in cooking her favourite dishes - assam pedas, chicken sambal and lontong - for her. He learnt how to cook them from her when he was growing up. "Sometimes she is happy, sometimes she is not... but cooking and taking care of me was what she did, and now I do it for her," he says. There might also be simmering resentment in families if the ailing parent subscribes to the "Asian traditional way" of favouring sons over daughters, and the daughters end up shouldering the bulk of the caregiving duties, says O'Joy's Ms Teo. She adds that the most important thing is for the children to put themselves firmly in the shoes of their parents. "The parent may have been doing something, such as cooking, for the past 40 years and is now unable to continue. This can be a tough transition for the parent," she explains. The children, meanwhile, may assume their new caregiving role with the perspective that their parents are old and their diminished condition is "to be expected", she says, leading to a lack of empathy. When elderly parents require help with day-to-day tasks such as eating and bathing, help them maintain their dignity by giving them a choice on how the chores should be done, says Ms Teo. For example, the parent could decide if he would like to be showered or sponged, and what time of the day he wants this to be done. Madam Lim, for example, prefers that her daughter Ms Gan assists her bath in the morning. "These decisions may help her because her mood is better and she is more cooperative," says Ms Gan. Meanwhile, Madam Patimah is able to shower independently while seated, so Mr Jasni leaves the door "half-closed" for her privacy. Being overly protective of the elders could backfire and humiliate them, says Ms Rachel Lee Siang Ju, 46, senior assistant director of Fei Yue Family Service Centres. Choice of food, says Ms Teo, is also one of the biggest problem areas. The children tend to think their parents' diet needs a major health overhaul, while the cared-for folks may crave unhealthy fare. "Singaporeans are such foodies and chances are, the older generation cooked well and have high standards for food," Ms Teo explains. Her advice: Offer a compromise - an indulgent treat on the menu once in a while, depending on their health and condition. Children also tend to pay more attention to their parents' physical rather than emotional needs, says Ms Wang Jing, 44, senior manager and counsellor of counselling and social work practice at Hua Mei Centre for Successful Ageing. "If a parent mentions to his children that he has a headache, they may head to the doctor immediately. But if the parent says he is bored and has nothing to do in his life, the children might reply: You think too much," she says. When these children, who might have their own families and young children to look after, feel helpless as their parents tell them about their unhappiness, they might start to distance themselves as they feel frustrated that they do not know how to respond, says Ms Wang. Their parents, then, might suffer from emotional distress. Chances are, adds SingHealth Polyclinics' Ms Teo, these children have full-time jobs and find it difficult to take leave from work. "Perhaps the general perception of caregiving for young children is greater than that for elderly parents. It is important for a change in a mindset so that adult children feel more supported to care for their elderly parents," she says. Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob spoke of the need to legislate eldercare leave at a conference last week. Three-and-a-half years ago, graphic designer Margaret Chung, 56, left her full-time job to work freelance so that she can take care of her 87-year-old dementia- stricken mother. "The initial period was really tough because my mother used to be totally independent, which allowed me to have much space for myself. I guess I lost much of my 'free movement' when my mother was no longer independent," she says. It took little tricks around the home to make life easier for her as a caregiver, says Ms Chung. For example, she installed a baby gate at the foot of the staircase of their two-storey house, so that her mother would not accidentally climb the stairs on her own and fall. Her Catholic faith also helped keep her strong, says Ms Chung. "We caregivers do lose our cool from time to time, but this sacrifice is worth it because this is my parent and caring for her must come with love and compassion."
  • Foing fourth to multiply: talking about an old issue (January 20, 2014)"
    Source: SALT - NVPC By 2030 there will be estimated 600,000 Singaporeans aged 75 years and older. Many, if not most, of those in this demographic will be in their ‘fourth age’, which is characterised by a loss in cognitive function and ability to learn, the prevalence of dementia, dysfunction and frailty. In short, the fourth age of a person’s life is defined by a loss of functionality – and therefore dependency. This dependency will demand increasing health and social service support. It is a prospect that will invariably be lengthy and expensive for the families affected – and for society. There is no doubt that personal responsibility is part of the equation. Those of us approaching the fourth age must prepare ourselves financially, emotionally and perhaps even spiritually, for the almost-inevitable loss of our independence. Then, even basic everyday tasks will require the reliance on others. Much of this preparation will have to be addressed in the preceding stage of life – the ‘third age’, where the so-called ‘young-old’ are still in possession of relatively good health, physical strength and are able to participate meaningfully in society. While there is a plethora of initiatives concerning the third age, the discourse now needs to include the fourth age as part of the continuum of the aging cycle. We cannot honestly address the reality of aging if we do not also mention the inevitable deterioration of the human condition. Looking ahead, seniors are more likely to be living on their own, which suggests the importance of ensuring the availability of care within their community. This might include building care networks comprising paid staff and volunteers (including able-bodied seniors), especially within precincts with a high concentration of seniors living alone or those who require social and/or health care support. Ms Ang Bee Lian, CEO of NCSS who spoke at the MSF-CSC Social Sector Conference in April 2013, mentioned one of the dilemmas was how to galvanise the various sectors to meet competing needs with limited resources. In the same conference, Mr Laurence Lien, CEO of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), also reiterated the social problems we face today are complex and increasingly difficult to solve and that old paradigms need to be revisited. But he also mentioned that there are opportunities in mobilising the private and non-profit sectors in the problem solving. As an example, Laurence said that not-for-profit organisations may be better placed to take on certain projects by injecting diversity and innovation in palliative and end of life care in Singapore. The government must encourage alternative delivery models and lessen involvement by allowing private funding and initiative. Our future situation should be characterised by a multi-facetted collaboration between the government, non-for-profit, and private sectors. Each is empowered to do the work without replication from another tri-partite member. We must let each stakeholder do what it is best suited to their expertise and allow the not-for-profit and private sectors take on some ownership to solve social issues. The government’s role must then be to create an environment encouraging new models of delivery conducive for positive change.
  • Leaving the roost (January 16, 2014)"
    Source: Ageless Online Mother hen and MasterChef Australia contestant Noelene Marchwicki opens up on her painful experience with empty-nest syndrome. Parents feel empty-nest syndrome when their children leave the home or “nest” for the first time to go off to university or to start work. Though it is not a critical condition, it can hit hard on the parents and can result in depression, a sense of loss of purpose, feelings of rejection, or worry, stress and even anxiety over the child’s welfare. According to the, parents face many challenges such as establishing a new kind of relationship with their children, having to find other ways to occupy their free time, reconnecting with each other, and a lack of sympathy from people who believe that parents should be happy when their children leave home. Clinical director of volunteer welfareorganisation O’Joy Care Services in Singapore, Teo Puay Leng, advised: “You need to have a life beyond your family – you need hobbies and interests, own social support network, etc. If you focus on the family, when kids have left the nest, you will feel empty and not needed. Depression can set in if not prepared. You need to look at this issue even earlier while your kids are growing up.” To get a better perspective about this condition, Ageless Online talks to contestant of MasterChef Australia Season 5 (which recently finished airing in Singapore), 59-year-old, thrice-married Noelene Marchwicki, who has openly admitted to having to deal with empty-nest syndrome. She shares here about how life was before empty-nest syndrome and after, and how things have changed: “My life before the empty nest was very full and busy, there were years of struggle … financial, emotional … but there was always food on our table, clean clothes and a warm home where friends were welcome. I have four sons – Marc, Shaun, Paul and Dale, and one daughter, Nicole. I have handled all their departures from home badly and regret my behaviour. Their leaving was made so much worse because I made it all about me; it was never my intention but that is the way it was. As their mother, I made them feel guilty. They left home feeling they had let me down. Noelene's children – Marc, Shaun, Paul, Dale and Nicole, and grandchild Ella. I was so scared that my purpose, my worth as a parent, as a person was gone. I had lost any idea of who I was as an individual … I only saw myself as a mother. The departures have all been so dramatic, from telling them to go, just leave to locking myself in my room sobbing on the floor. Had I been an actor I would have won an award, but sadly this was real. Honestly that was not a mother’s love it was a mother’s fear of facing reality – the future, it was about letting go, reclaiming my life, finding myself. Like I previously said, it was really about me. In time, I picked up the phone and resumed my relationship with my relocated children; their careers and ventures are so interesting to hear and learn about. I continued to work, and was still busy, my life filled with other interests – rekindling my passion for the garden, becoming involved with the preparation of afternoon teas at the Yallourn Yallourn North Football Club, where my son Dale plays footy (a form of football). Noelene with her grandchild Max who was born while she was at MasterChef. I always cooked, but now I wanted to learn more … and there is so much to learn from the past, from other cultures, getting others involved, surrounding myself with passionate people. Reading books on food and people in the industry, about politics and fair trade. Spreading the word on using the whole of the animal not killing for certain cuts … all life should be respected. It was my son Dale who suggested I apply to MasterChef. It was the most amazing experience, just being invited to the auditions, let alone the phone call to say I had made it to MasterChef Season 5. MasterChef was a gift that I afforded myself because somewhere along the way I realised I will always be a mum and that it was ok to have dreams and desires. No matter what your age, you have to learn to let go … in my case it was the fear of change. I returned from MasterChef (17-week stint), a confident cook who wants to learn more and has so much to give. We all have so much to give, we can change the world especially our own. Give it a go. Noelene in MasterChef, with Heston Blumenthal and judge Matt Preston during "Heston Week". I am not a perfect parent, I never was … but I do have the best grandchildren – Ella, 9 and Max, 10 months (born while she was at MasterChef).” After MasterChef, Noelene went full-steam ahead with a new chapter in her life and put behind her job as an optical dispenser. With a sprinkle of her own brand of sass – she has launched her catering business called Dial An Occasion, where she cooks for people in their homes. She is also teaching cooking classes from her home.
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