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Stressed at times but she knows where to get help

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Goh Yan Han on 19 Oct 2020

The Straits Times

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Madam Hasnah Mohamed Maideen, 57, cannot escape the stress and burnout that come with being the main caregiver for her elder sister Fatimah Mohamed Jamaludin.

 

Madam Fatimah, 73, was diagnosed with dementia in 2012 and her condition has gradually become more severe.

 

She now needs help with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing and going to the toilet. She also has several health conditions - diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and asthma.

 

Madam Hasnah quit her job as a food stall helper in 2013 to care for her sister.

 

She said: "Occasionally, Fatimah has difficulty sleeping at night and will disturb me. She will ask me for food although she has eaten. Sometimes, she will just walk around the house, which is a risk for her as she's prone to falling."

 

Once, Madam Fatimah had stomach flu but did not tell her sister that she was not feeling well. Next thing Madam Hasnah knew, there were faeces all over the floor of their home.

 

Both their husbands died more than 20 years ago, and the two sisters live together in a one-room rental flat in Pasir Ris.

 

Despite the difficulties she faces, Madam Hasnah said she does not feel she is all alone. The doctors at the polyclinic and hospitals often give her advice on how to manage her sister's condition, and her neighbours have been supportive, she said.

 

One of Madam Hasnah's three children also lives nearby with his family. And she and her sister receive financial support from a mosque and the Social Service Office.

 

In March last year, social workers from the Club Heal community engagement team paid them a visit, and Madam Hasnah decided to sign up with them for more caregiving support.

 

Club Heal provides psycho-education and supportive counselling to people with mental health issues and their families.

 

A team from the charity now visits Madam Hasnah once a month to see how she is doing and gives her information about activities and resources that could be useful for her. It is also an opportunity for Madam Hasnah to talk about her worries and problems.

 

She said: "If I need to vent, it is an outlet for me, and it helps me release some stress."

 

A team from the charity now visits Madam Hasnah once a month to see how she is doing and gives her information about activities and resources that could be useful for her. It is also an opportunity for Madam Hasnah to talk about her worries and problems.

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

 

 

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