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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Live-in caregiver feels emotional pull

Mrs Manikandan sees to the daily living needs of Madam Susan Ong, who suffers from dementia.
The Straits Times - March 26, 2014
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Live-in caregiver feels emotional pull

FORMER nurse Jil Manikandan spent 10 years working in a hospital but that experience still did not prepare her for the emotional challenges of being a live-in caregiver.


"It's totally different," she said. "In the hospital, patients come and go. You have no mental attachment to the patient."


The emotional difficulties hit home last year when a patient she was looking after died. The Indian national, who first came here in June last year, returned home but came back to Singapore in January to care for dementia patient Susan Ong, 90.


She lives in Madam Ong's flat in the Mountbatten area, helping with her client's daily personal needs, such as bathing, and helping her deal with daily life.


The thing to remember as a caregiver, Mrs Manikandan, 30, said is that the elderly "have their own moods".

"

If they are in a bad mood, you cannot stress them or force them. They get very distressed. Just wait for 10 to 15 minutes, and they will be fine."


Ms Manikandan earns about $700 a month, which is paid directly to her by her employer.

 

Active Global Specialised Caregivers recruited her directly from India. She did not have to pay agents' fees, which could amount to as much as six months of her salary.


Despite her nursing background in India, Singapore law mandates that Ms Manikandan cannot provide home nursing services. Only nurses registered with the Singapore Nursing Board can practise here.


Yet her experience in the field means she is able to provide much more specialised care than an ordinary maid.


And even though housework is not within her job scope, she does it anyway.


"I treat this house as my house," she said.

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