One of my colleagues interviewed me for an article that was pubished in “Carers Connection”, a Care Corner Caregivers’ Publication in May 2006.
In Loving Memory of Grandma, I thought I should “re-print” it here.
My grandma was diagnosed with Dementia in May 1998. Though that was when we received the formal diagnosis, the bits and pieces that we were loosing started even before that. While it has been painful to see her deteriorate bit by bit, I think that the opportunities and the propensity for personal growth that her illness has brought is something else altogether.
Today she is severely demented, she can no longer perform any of her Activities of Daily Living, she is tube-fed and bed bound. But her essence and being, continues to be a matchless life source for me.
Interviewer: How do you help contribute in your grandma's caregiving?
Frances: My role has shifted greatly throughout the course of my grandma illness. While it was a degree of emotional companionship at the initial stages, at the present time I see myself more of a "manager" of her care. I help with organising and planning her schedule, such as what time she should be fed, changed, turned etc. I also serve as a resource person for the maids, ensuring that they are equipped to care for her adequately.
Interviewer: What are some of the challenges you face in caring for your grandma?
Frances: The biggest challenge is perhaps the emotional one. The slow process of letting go and saying goodbye to the Grandma that I once knew, but yet being there and meeting the needs of the Grandma that she is today.
Interviewer: How has the journey of being a care-giver change you as a person?
Maybe not so much "changed me as a person" but it has allowed me to experience a side of myself that I didn't know existed. It has allowed me to rise above my own limitations, stretch my limits and grow. In most facets of my life, I am non-chalant and disorganised, but for Grandma, I am super meticulous and "ngeow". So I know that if I really want to, I could. I guess that's what Love is right ?
Interviewer: What are some words of encouragement you would like to share with other care-givers?
Care-giving is a privilege, it is a rare honour, not everybody gets a chance at it, so treasure it! At times, you may feel alone, but you chances are you aren't, in the absence of physical bodies tolling the ground with you, remember the spirit man of the one you care for today. Remember the times of yesteryears ... may memories of the good times you’ve shared help you toll on …