Y.P – Community Care Worker for the Elderly
When we do home visits, we want to check on their current state. The main aim is to befriend them, see how they are doing. But normally when the conversations flow, we find out more about them. We try to build rapport, and to keep track of their needs, we actually record our visits. You do need to look back and see what happens to this senior. Like few months ago, this person was talking quite coherently. How come now I feel like they are not so coherent – is there risk of some cognitive issues? Should we run an assessment to check whether this person might be at the risk of dementia? If we check and there is a risk, then we can refer to polyclinics or hospitals accordingly.
We don’t just serve HDB residents. It’s whatever is within our boundary – this includes the private estates, the condos and the landed property. So it depends on where the boundary is.
At the moment, in areas where we serve, being able to speak good mandarin is an edge. If you can speak dialect, it’s a bonus. My dialect is Hokkien but I do understand the other dialects. For medical terms, I need to Google. But for day to day conversations, like a chat, it can be like, “Chi bao ma (Have you eaten)?” or “Jiak ba buay?” The more proficient you are, the further your conversation will go.
With my little bit of experience, we’ve come to realize that even seniors living on with their children can feel isolated. So that’s where we come in. I think end of the day, we have to accept that they cannot change the family dynamics and it’s not for us to change. But what we can do is to supplement the love and care for the seniors. Like a friend. At least they know there is someone to reach out for. There is someplace I (they) can go. You know, sometimes in life, you don’t have an absolute solution. But there is someone to turn to, talk to, to discuss something.
For my parents, I think I can see ahead and better empathize the kind of challenges they are having. Because we do go for courses. Sometimes, you know when you live with your parents – I still live with my parents, haha, at this age must declare that I still live with my parents, as you know, Singapore, Asians right, we’re not like Western countries. I won’t say we’re cramping each other’s style, but people will pick on one another. Like “Why are you like that?” or “Why you never do your zip lock properly?” But after I learned more about seniors, I realized that their fingers are not as nimble as ours, and it’s something we actually take for granted. There’s two sides to it – one being that I want to enjoy my life with them while they are still healthy and young. I want to bring them out more. Even a trip to the supermarket is nice. Just spend more time together, because they will grow old. They will grow frail. It’s very inevitable as what I’ve see in my line of work.