My mother has been living in a public rental flat since 1950s. She stays on her own even when all her five children left her to build their own families. We brought in a maid to look after her when she was no longer able to live independently. That was about six years ago. The maid did not take home leave until recently when her grandpa had a stroke and was admitted to a ICU in Indonesia. This started the scramble to get family members to take care of my mother while the maid was away. For nineteen days, my brothers, my sister and I were rostered to do our parts.
It was with this situation that the siblings were able to get a taste of looking after mother 24 hours a day. My mother’s health deteriorated through normal aging process. At 90 plus years old, she cannot hear properly, she cannot walk on her own, she needs wheel chair to move her to the toilet. She requires someone to cook for her, helps her with her bathing and toileting needs. Her short term memory is going. She would repeat the same question several times. She has this compulsive behaviour that things must be in a certain way. I see what aging can do to us mentally and physically. We really need someone to care for us when we cannot do so.
This episode gave us the opportunity to look after mother. I appreciate more the work done by the maid over these years. Through this, I realised that my brothers and sister (all above 60 years old) could be called upon to help at short notice. That was a good feeling. We found out that caregivers require our respect and support in carrying out their duties. They need breaks now and then from a mentally demanding work of looking elderly persons in later years of their lives.
The maid came back last night and it was with relief that things were back to normal.