Theresa Teo is so happy to have a trained caregiver for her 88-year-old mother who not only cannot speak due to a stroke, she also has dementia and is now unable to recognise anyone. Two years ago, when Lucy was down with a fever and the doctors advised for her to be placed in a hospice, Theresa decided against this and brought her home despite a prognosis of a few weeks. She then hired Lucia, a caregiver from 1.Care Employment Agency, who has continued to be by her mother’s side.
“Other than showering my mum as it requires two people, she single-handedly does everything else,” shared Theresa about her caregiver. Lucia sponges Lucy, transfers her from the bed to the wheelchair and vice versa, turns her every two hours, milk-feeds her through a tube, suctions the phlegm if necessary, and gets up sometimes in the middle of the night. Lucia also does exercises with her daily to help against stiff limbs, and keeps her skin soft and supple.
Shared Theresa of Lucia, “She speaks English well. She is very responsible and really takes very good care of my mum. I go out without worries knowing that mum is in good hands. She is able to talk to nurses and doctors in my absence, many times. She can even decide the medication for my mum such as gel versus eye drops.” She is thankful Lucia is trained, adding, “Unless the family caregiver has some knowledge of nursing, it can be very stressful to hire an untrained caregiver. When the patient takes a bad turn, both the family member and caregiver may likely panic, not knowing what to do. It can be worse if a situation is handled badly due to the caregiver’s ignorance or negligence.”
Theresa also appreciates that Lucia continues to stay engaged with her mother even though it is one-sided. “My caregiver always talks to my mum. She tells mum every time what she is going to do next, like seating her on the wheelchair, adding that she will watch TV, although knowing very well she does not watch. She also teases mum, saying she is not pretty when she frowns, etc. I think this constant `conversation’, albeit one-sided, is the reason why mum has recovered so well. Lucia tells me mum sometimes smiles when she sings!”
She further explained that seeing it from her mother’s viewpoint, that she is not alone and there is a familiar and comforting voice there, making her less frightened. Every little bit counts when you want to give the best care to your loved one.