Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Caring for Alzheimer's Parent

Hello. Assalamualaikum. :)

Last semester in my Islamic Ethics class, we were given an assignment by our beloved lecturer, Dr. Che Amnah to read, understand and summarize in our own words on an article entitled, 'Sound Mind', written by Josephine Brouard. I enjoyed reading the article and I thought it would be a good thing to share here on my blog. 

So, the article was a story about the writer's experience of taking care of her parents especially her sick mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s diseaseThe article begins with the writer receiving an e-mail and a telephone call, which she knew she had to drop everything or cancel all her plans since she has other priority, which is to fly back to her fatherland in South Africa for a ten-week stay to lend a hand to her precious parents.

Her mother’s condition was bad and her health was weakening day by day and her father was too tired from taking care of his beloved sick wife for the past four and the half years. It’s no easy duty for a 78 year old man to nurse someone who is chronically ill. He had to do almost everything that his wife is incapable of doing. Hence, being the eldest among her siblings and with the most flexible life, Josephine felt that it’s her responsibility to care for her aging ill parent. 

She soon noticed how serious her mother’s condition was. Her mother was extremely helpless. She could not even perform simple things by herself, for example, brushing her own teeth. Caring for her ill mother wasn’t exactly easy and fun but it was what had to be done. It was her duty. It is a thing call ‘love’ which makes us or pushes us to do something sincerely for someone. The writer quoted, “It’s amazing what love will do.” I agree with her statement. Imagine if the writer is a heartless person and she does not love or care about her mother at all, will she leave everything for example her family and her job and fly thousands of miles from Australia to South Africa to be with her parents? The answer will be a big NO. Thus, for the love towards her parents, she is willing to sacrifice everything to spend more time with them.

Day and night, the writer and her father took turns to take care for her mother. But as days went by quickly, her mother’s condition was getting worse. Her attitude was abnormal and things were out of control. There were incidents and accidents occurred around the house and Josephine came to realize that her father could not take care of her mother any more. So, Josephine began searching for palliative care residences and she finally found a perfect place for her mother called Abbey Lodge which is quite near to her father’s home. 

It was not easy to send a loved one away from a place call home. Tetiba teringat one of my favourite childhood films, The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy kept on repeating "There's no place like home" ;'> Okay enough with the Wizard of Oz. So, where was I? Okay moving on, Josephine, her siblings and especially her father was full of hesitation whether to put her mother in palliative care or not. In the end, they came to a decision to send her away to Abbey Lodge. Josephine had arranged a new room for her mother at the care center. Everything went according to plan. Josephine and her father visited her mother regularly at the care center. Her mother seemed to adjust to her new home. As for her father, he began to have a new life-start reading again, working out at the gym and attending dinner parties. 

Eventually, the writer had to go back to Australia to her beloved husband, her career, her home and her life.Weeks later, Josephine received an e-mail from the general manager at Abbey Lodge telling only bad news of Josephine’s mother. Her condition was weakening. Josephine realize that the ‘move’ to palliative care may take her mother’s life from her sooner rather than later. The writer was disappointed with the news but she did not regret. Why? Because she and her father did the very best that they could do. She ended her article by saying that, if she was given a choice in the matter, she would want her parents to be at home together, spending time with one another and everything will go back to the way it was before - happily and healthily :)

But did Josephine did the right thing by sending her mother to the palliative care center? I’d say yes. We have to look at Josephine’s condition too. She’s married. She has a husband and also a career back in Australia. She also has other priorities in life. I think what she did by flying back to her fatherland for a ten-week stay to care for her parent is such a huge sacrifice. She spend her money and energy in helping her ill parent and by sending her mother to palliative care is the right decision since her mother need a 24 hour care. I think Josephine have to quit her job and move back to South Africa and live with her mother and father where her only duty is to take care of her sick mother. It would be harsh of Josephine if she did not try her very best to care for her mother and just send her to palliative care. So in my opinion Josephine did the right thing because all of this time she and her father had done the very best that they could do towards her mother.

* "Oh Allah! Have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was small", (Surah Al-Isra, 17:24)

1 comment:

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