Dying Solo

Last week, my Junior College home tutor, Miss Evelyn Nathan, passed away. The news of her death came as a shock to all of us. Miss Nathan, who was single and lived by herself, was found dead in her Ang Mo Kio flat, by her brother. The catch 69? He found her only three days later!

dying_alone

Dying alone at home an uprising trend?

Last week, my Junior College home tutor, Miss Evelyn Nathan, passed away. The news of her death came as a shock to all of us. Miss Nathan, who was single and lived by herself, was found dead in her Ang Mo Kio flat, by her brother. The catch 69? He found her only three days later!

With all the gory details surrounding her demise unraveling online it is no surprise that Netizens, her former students from Catholic Junior College, Innova Junior College and friends are teeming with questions.

Why did a seemingly fit, healthy teacher, have a heart attack?  Why was her body only found three days later? Why didn’t her family realize she was missing? Why didn’t her neighbors detect something amiss and why did her school not call her next of kin when she missed work?

 

An Inspiring teacher

“Miss Nathan was an inspiring teacher – she made it a point to have a personal connection with each of her students. Now that I am a teacher, I too follow her style of being more than a teacher to my students. I try to be their friend – to understand their problems and their needs,” shared Punithan M, 28 a teacher and former student of Miss Nathan.

Echoing Punithan, Wafa Marican, also a teacher, shared, “Miss Nathan has always gone above and beyond her call of duty as a teacher. She inspired us and connected with us not only in the realm of the classroom but as a mentor and friend, “

Lonely at the Top

While Miss Nathan’s case is definitely sad, especially for us, her former students – it does bring to light a problem that we are facing here in Singapore. According to a 2009 Singstat household survey, more than 10 percent of all households in Singapore are single households. With more and more Singaporeans living by themselves, how do we ensure that safety is not compromised?

“Staying solo is an upward trend and it is a phenomenon that is here to stay. It is impossible to expect the elderly to stay with someone, but it is crucial that they have a support system. In this case, the family should have realised something was amiss way before three days. The fact that they took so long to find her body is shocking, to say the very least.” laments Punithan.

Adding on, Wafa says, “More should be done. It is essential to have an active network of friends and family who are aware of what we are doing. In schools there should be a system where if a teacher does not turn up for work and is noncommunicable, her next of kin should be called.

What do you think? Do your parents stay alone? What should be done to ensure the safety of single households?