When heading out for an evening walk or a run in Singapore, you might notice gardens, flowers and a few familiar faces along the way but the thing that is likely to astound you the most is seeing a Singapore husband on an electric unicycle taking his wheelchair bound wife for a walk. The sight is certainly touching to behold and shows the world what long walks of marital promise can truly look like.
What Prompted the Idea?
The main inspiration for it was a desperate need to give his wife something that she really wanted. After being married for more than forty years, Mr. Tan’s wife, Mrs. Loh Yock Yeng, was diagnosed with a severe case of dementia. She had been a healthy and vibrant lady before, but due to the illness, all that vibrancy soon began to fade away and there was nothing much that Mr. Tan Ban Ho could do.
Initially, when the illness hit, Mr. Tan had trouble understanding what Yock Yeng needed or wanted. This would get her quite agitated. One day, after such an episode, he decided to take her for a stroll in her wheelchair and this seemed to calm her down, making her happier. In their excitement and enjoyment, they covered five whole kilometers that day.
While this was a solution to the agitation, Tan realized he could not handle long distance walks on a daily basis as they caused his feet to ache. He thus, needed a better way to make the idea work and it didn’t take him long to come up with one.
How did He Execute the Idea?
With the intention of solving the dilemma of going for long distance walks without getting tired, Mr. Tan bought an electric unicycle for a hefty sum of $600. This enabled him to move around with his wife, without having to take a single step.
Mr. Tan who was an ITE lecturer, teaching electronics, used his technical knowledge to put the entire thing together and was thrilled with the results. He could now hop onto his unicycle and push his wife and her wheelchair as they headed out for their long walks of marital promise which helped calm her down.
However, he did not stop there. He had a few more additions that had to be taken care of. He added a homemade umbrella holder to the wheelchair, which was merely a PVC pipe, so that his wife would not have to suffer the glare of the sun.
Making it work no matter what
Dealing with someone who suffers from dementia is certainly not easy, especially if the person is fine one day and terrible the next. The initial stages would be difficult for anyone but Mr. Tan managed to overcome this huge challenge.
On some days, his wife is so bad that she confuses her husband for her father. However, the wheelchair rides keep her calm and happy and thus, her husband considers it his duty to take her for them every day. It goes without say that Mr. Tan will continue to go on these long walks of marital promise, if for nothing else, than merely to show his wife how much he still loves still her.