Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting sustainable support for the mentally ill & their caregivers

For years I have searched for a good support system for my wife. Never easy to get!  Doris’ mobility is becoming more and more restricted as the arthritis condition that she is struggling with has worsened.  She can hardly walk- even from one room to another. In Singapore, if you are less able-bodied, you will find it very hard to get support.

If you get support, it is difficult to secure SUSTAINABLE support.   Sadly, a lot of people/organizations adopt an “out of sight, out of mind attitude”. One organization that is supposed to help people like my wife and who did support us in the past have completely forgotten us and have  instead imposed unnecessary and absurd means testing on me. They used to visit Doris and I once a year and give us a roasted chicken during Christmas. They used to clean up our house once every 3 months. A few months ago, the staff handling support systems for people like my wife told me that if I wanted to continue to receive this kind of support , I must show all my bank books, show all my PUB Bills, , Telephone bills, etc.

Imagine just to get a chicken once a year so that my wife and I can celebrate the joys of Christmas, I have to show all my bank books.

My search continued, until I found a church whose cells members are more than supportive.  They clean up our house once a month, and then take the trouble to buy Doris & I a meal.

Lions Befrienders have in them a young Malaysian lady who will help to fetch Doris & I in her car. She holds Doris’ arm and even lifts up her feet as she gets in the car.  Then she fetches us home, and drops by the food centre to allow me to buy our lunch. I asked this volunteer why she does all these kind things.  Her reply was that it is part of the Malaysia culture to care for the elderly.  I thank God for such people coming into our lives.

It is never easy to get support, but those that respond positively will be blessed cos’ God sees and hears everything.  

It can be disheartening when you make calls  to seek help, and no one bothers to return calls. But I must continue to provide the support for my wife. For she is a decent human being who needs love & support.

With the two books that I am now producing, one of which is Doris’ 2nd novel, I will have to go from church to church to sell the books, and I would need  kind-hearted volunteers to help me. Cos’ Doris cannot go because she is at heavy risks of falling. 

Who will come alongside me? I really don’t know. There are people who make promises , but will they be there for us when we need them?

Raymond Anthony Fernando

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