Claire and Pete knew their mother as a woman whose positivity and warmth brought joy to everyone around her. But her quick-witted sense of humour and love for life began to fade with dementia. She became suspicious, irritable, and at times, even aggressive toward those around her.
"Our mother went through phases of denial, aggression, sadness and depression
. She kept repeating herself and forgot the names of close friends and family. The independent woman we once knew was now depending on us for everything," Claire recalls.
The heartbreak that comes with watching their strong mother slowly decline and fade away has overwhelmed Claire and Pete many times. They have felt powerless, inadequate and angry.
"We didn't know what to expect or if there was anything we could do rather than just watching our mother spiral down and stray further from herself," Pete recalls.
Claire adds, "We didn't know how to deal with all that guilt and sadness and cope with things. At one point, a health professional told us, it is the illness, not your mum. That's when things started to get better for us. That's when we started to see our real mum again through the illness."
So, they stopped fighting and embraced it. "Accept that it's happening," Claire and Pete share. "Cherish your time together and appreciate the moments of clarity. Remember them for who they were throughout their life."
Nonetheless, as part of the sandwiched generation
, Claire and Pete were under immense emotional and financial pressure to be able to care for both their ageing parent and their children while juggling their own professional responsibilities.
At the beginning of their journey, they turned to community and online resources for advice. Both found local support groups who knew what they were going through and made them feel less isolated, hopeless and fearful.
Over time, they have begun to rely on family members, friends and volunteer organisations to help with daily caregiving. They are also considering trying caregiving assistance and adult day-care.
Importantly, they learned that having time for themselves was okay. Each day, they schedule breaks for themselves to pursue their interests, meet with friends and lead a "normal" life. They emphasise that without this self-care and the right support, they would be able to offer their mum the care that they do.
When it comes to conditions like dementia, there's no such thing as being too prepared. Ease the financial burden for you and your loved ones with the AIA Centurion PA
, the first personal accident plan in Singapore with an optional coverage for multi-stage Alzheimer's Disease, Severe Dementia and Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease. You can start AIA Centurion PA
coverage from as early as age 40 to as late as age 80*, and be protected till 100 years old, with value-added services such as home care, health screenings and teleconsultations to make your golden years more comfortable and carefree.
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* The last entry age for an optional Dementia Benefit is 70 years old at your last birthday. Coverage lasts until you are 85 years old.