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“Precious Gems 2″ by CEO Ms Angeline Wee
21 June 2016

As I neared our patient’s home, I could hear sound of laughter.

I peered into the living room and saw a young lady still giggling away. She was practising Javanese with Machik (auntie in Malay), who told her she got her pronunciation all wrong. I stepped into the house and the young lady greeted the nurse enthusiastically. Then Dalia (not her real name) introduced herself to me.

Walking closely behind was Machik, in her sarong, looking jolly, rotund and lovable. Machik immediately reminded me of my own grandma.

In the same living room was a hospital bed, with the bed guards pulled up. Lying in it was a frail old man. Pachik (uncle in Malay) could not speak and I learnt that he was suffering from dementia and unable to carry out the many activities of daily living. Who was our patient? Machik or Pachik? Machik, who did not look the least ill, save for the walking stick that she used, had recently undergone surgery and on the mend, was our patient.

My “gem” this month is Dalia, a delightful caregiver, who looks after both her parents. I chatted with Dalia and she immediately told me about how she had to give up her job six months ago and juggled her time between her parents. She used to be in the advertising industry and she beamed as she told me about her previous job and responsibilities. She then went on to tell me what she does now – she has to feed and bathe Pachik in the mornings, followed by going to the market to get groceries. She has to cook, do the household chores and on occasion take Machik to hospital. She no longer has freedom to leave the house when she pleases.

I noticed that Dalia was getting agitated. Her main misgiving was about her siblings, who complained that all she did was to laze at home, eat and get fat. Dalia was visibly upset. She fought back her tears, as she told me that her brother did not understand what it takes for her to look after Pachik and Machik. She felt it was unfair. Dalia is all of 25 years, at the prime of her life, but saddled with caregiving.

Before we left, Dalia was back to her bubbly self.

“Don’t worry, Nurse, I am happy to take care of my parents!” she exclaimed and gave us a cheery wave.

How many Dalias are there out there? Many I am sure. Caregivers need respite and our HCA social workers strive hard daily, to help the Dalia’s of this world, by providing them with emotional and psycho-social support.

At HCA Hospice Care, each of us works hard to find volunteers who can help the likes of Dalia. I am proud to be with HCA Hospice Care because we also care very much for the family and caregivers of our patients.

Read the previous “Precious Gems” blog entry on http://webdesigning.com.sg/project/hca/HCA-Connectprecious-gems-by-ceo-ms-angeline-wee/. Stay tuned for more stories on the series of “Precious Gems” by our CEO, Ms Angeline Wee!

HCA Hospice Care extends care and love to our beneficiaries and their families, taking care of their well-being, providing psychosocial and bereavement support. Find out more here!

If you wish to make a donation, please visit https://www.hca.org.sg/hospice/volunteers/donation for more details. Your generosity will go a long way in touching the lives of our patients and helping them to live with dignity till their last days.