Having dementia can be tough, for the person with dementia as well as family members. As such, Sharon Tan had difficulties taking care of her 84-year-old mother, Meoy Meoy, and at the same time, juggling work and sometimes, having no rest day even on her off day. Her mother, who has early- to mid-stage dementia, could not clean herself properly after using the toilet and Sharon was at her wit’s end trying to provide the best care for her mother. Five years ago, she decided to hire a caregiver from 1.Care Employment Agency.
Natasha who came from Myanmar had problems at the beginning conversing with Meoy Meoy who could only speak Hokkien. But over time, Sharon shared, “Natasha picked up quite fast and was able to chit-chat with my mother.” Natasha helps Meoy Meoy with changing and bathing, and cooks for her. “This helps a lot as I have less worries about my mother’s well-being while I am at work,” said Sharon.
She stressed the importance of having a trained caregiver when it comes to looking after a loved one with dementia. “A trained caregiver not only knows the right way to transfer the loved one from the bed to the wheelchair, is very patient when feeding, and knows when to change the diapers so the loved one feels more comfortable and clean.”
Sharon also highlighted the need to work together and have mutual respect. “Both the employer and caregiver must communicate often to understand and solve problems together. The employer must be patient with the caregiver if sometimes the caregiver falls sick, the employer must show concern and should buy nice food and gifts for the caregiver to make her feel at home. You must not scold her if she makes mistakes but teach her again to make sure she understands and improves.” All this works well in building a better relationship with the caregiver, and the caregiver to the loved one.