January 20, 2017

Caring for Dementia Elderly: Looking for Helper

When Grandma was diagnosed with stroke, the doctor advised us to engage a trained helper to take care of grandma. The goal is simple, the family should be able to function as normal while ensuring that grandma is well looked after and ensure that essential activities such as bathing and toileting are well taken care of. As a result of the stroke, grandma suffered from both vascular dementia and a deterioration of motor skills, especially in her ability to walk, in which the helper has to help to ensure that she does not fall down.

We were informed by the doctors that we would not be able to bring grandma home, unless we are able to employ a trained helper to help take care of her needs and we were given 2 weeks as the hospital is simply too crowded to grandma to stay any longer. The search for an experienced helper was on with my sister working to interview the helper, while I took care of all necessary legal documentation and coursework to get the helper to our place ASAP. Meanwhile, Mum and Dad started to procure new furniture and home configuration to prepare for a disabled elderly. After extensive interview sessions, my sis managed to locate an experienced Indonesian helper who had 7 years of experience working with dementia elderly in Taiwan. She is able to speak mandarin and hokkien, which is crucial in daily communication with a dementia patient. However, the paperwork took longer than expected and we were unable to complete all the requirements by the end of the 2 weeks period. The doctor than decided to move grandma to St Andrew community hospital and we were told by the doctor that we have another week extension to bring in the helper.

Luckily, there is no other hiccups with the application and soon, our helper, named Ati, touched down at Singapore shores. However, before we can bring grandma home, the helper had to undergo training at the hospital and it was another week later, that everything was in place to welcome grandma home.

We breathe a sign of relief that we have gotten the house and helper in order and that was 4 very stressful weeks as the family banded together to put together a safe environment for grandma and we looked forward to bring grandma home.

A week after bringing grandma home, we began to realize that the journey has just started and the mad rush for the home preparation and helper scouting are the easy parts of the journey.

January 9, 2017

Caring for Dementia Elderly: Home Configuration

While I was in Europe in October, my parents came back home and found grandma on the floor, unconscious, laying beside her sewing kit. Grandma had a stroke. She was immediately sent to hospital and soon after, the effects of the brain damage as a result, she was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Other than a slurring of speech pattern, coordination skills and a weakening of her legs, her memories became confused with time, place and people.

For example, she will think that her mother, who has died over 70 years ago, is alive and well at home.

She also got confused with the number of family members at home. She strongly believes that I have an elder brother called "Song Song", whom does not exist in the first place. "Song song" is the pet name. We had to keep her updated on the number of family members by constantly showing her her family pictures

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