Published on Friday 18 th June 2010, page 22.
I refer to the article, “Family must remain pillar of society” (The New Paper, 8 June). I agree with Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishan that the family must remain the crucial, social pillar of our nation.
However, those suffering from mental illness cannot always rely on family support because the illness is unpredictable and requires round-the- clock supervision.
Family members who do not have the patience and perseverance will not want to travel this journey.
We are discriminated againts, isolated and shunned. My wife and I are in this unfortunate predicament, and so are many other psychiatric patients.
Caregivers like me are not asking for the Government to take on the role of surrogate family or relative.
What we want is good caregiver support to make our journey easier.
The bone in my right heel has worn out and causes severe pain when I walk.
My wife who have several chronic illnesses, also has great difficult walking because of arthritis.
There will come a time when we will have to take taxis wherever we go.
I have asked for the peak hour taxi surcharges and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges to be waived for people like us, but to no avail.
Yet, the Land Transport Authority was flexible enough to reduce the ERP rates fees at certain gantries during the June holidays.
I wish we could get cooked meals deliverd or be able to buy ready-to-cook food from the supermarkets.
But my suggestions have got me nowhere. Nobody seems to be willing to help.
Some people have suggested that I place my wife in a nursing home.
My answer to them is simple: “Even if I am in a wheelchair, I will walk with her- all the way. And if schizophrenia and other illnesses are part of her life, it must surely be part of my life”.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO