DEMENTIA: CARE-GIVING IS NOT A ONE-MAN SHOW

<Facebook post by Singapore Kindness Movement>

Shortly after his father passed away from liver cancer in 2005, Mr. Jasni bin Daud noticed that his mother’s mental health deteriorated. From struggling to complete familiar tasks and becoming more forgetful, she eventually lost her ability to do household chores and buy groceries from the market.

Then working full-time as a cleaner at the ABC Brickworks Market in Bukit Merah, Jasni returned home one day to find his mother on the bathroom floor. Recognising that she had become injury prone and cognitively impaired, he saw that leaving her alone at home was no longer possible. The 55-year-old devised a part-time arrangement with his employer, and ever since, he’s been the primary caregiver to his mother who suffers from dementia.

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“I want to work to keep my mind fresh,” shared the fifth-born child among seven siblings.

Today at 69, urinary incontinence causes Jasni’s mother to soil her bed and the chair she sits on outside in the living room. Despite her resistance towards wearing adult diapers and the need to clean up after her, Jasni isn’t put off one bit and continues to patiently coax his mother every day. Among other things, he helps dress her in her baju kurung (traditional Malay dress) and reminds her to put on the diapers.

Worried that his mother may injure herself trying to move around in the dark, he leaves both a bedroom night light and the bathroom lights on throughout the night. Wishing to do his best for her, Jasni declared that it was his duty to take care of his mother and not something to sulk about. Likening it to how she has raised him lovingly, he teared as he described the little things that a mother does for her child.

Whenever outsiders suggest leaving his mother at a nursing home, Jasni would retort furiously: “I have brothers and sisters. Why put my mother in a nursing home? Don’t say that! She is my mother and I want to do it.”

Recollecting how he used to take his mother out for satay bites at Geylang and shopping trips along Orchard Road, Jasni admitted that it was now difficult to continue those outings with her being confined to the wheelchair most of the time.

No easy task for Jasni alone, his siblings help by chipping in to care for their mother too. On days that Jasni has to juggle his part-time work, he drops his mother off at his sister’s place at Jurong West. Other times, the siblings take turns to relieve him temporarily of his caregiver responsibilities so that he gets some alone time to venture off to Johor Bahru and Batam for shopping and makan (eat food).

Read the full article here: https://pride.kindness.sg/dementia-caregiving-isnt-one-man-show/

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