Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letter to The Straits Times Forum Page: Long, lonely road for caregiver

My letter on the above matter was published in The Straits Times on Monday 30th September 2013.

Last Sunday’s reports on caregivers (“Behind the silver surge”) struck a chord with me. Many of the heart-rending stories spoke of sacrifice, strength, resilience and unconditional love.

Unconditional love is what I have practised for 37 years, and like many of the caregivers featured in the reports, I too have suffered burnout – countless times.

If you are a caregiver to a loved one suffering from a serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia, the journey is much more difficult.

When my wife had a relapse of her schizophrenia after knee surgery, I was left to bear the pain – physical, emotional and financial – alone. In her disorientated state of mind, my  wife believed I was an imposter and not her husband.

Her full recovery took two months. Attempts to secure support failed miserably, even though I sent a flurry of letters to many government agencies. And mind you, I am educated and IT-savvy. What about those who are not literate?

So who cares for the caregivers?

Raymond Anthony Fernando

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