“Everything that you see in this house is by my mother”, says Hussein, son of Roshanara Malik.
As a millennial, I don’t often think about my parents needing full time care. Not immediately at least. But ill health creeps up on our loved ones, suddenly leaving us to fill some very big shoes. The same happened with Hussein and his siblings when their mother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a brain tumour that left her paralysed on the right side of her body. Mrs. Roshanara Malik, who had once singlehandedly managed her household, now needed her children’s help with her basic chores.
When a young parent suffers from a debilitating health event such as a brain tumour, the aftermath can often be not one single jolt but a series of sustained shocks over a long period of time that keep affecting children who become caregivers. At first, one feels unmoored and wants to be the example of filial piety but real life slowly starts to set in. With a condition like full body paralysis one realises that the little every day activities that we so take for granted are the ones that take up the most of our time and attention. For children who become caregivers to their parents, this role reversal can be very distressing especially when they are used to a very independent and multi-tasking pre-illness version of their parent, as was the case with Roshanara Malik.
Hussein describes the period after his mother was discharged from the hospital after her surgery. “My mother used to take care of everything in our home. When we were young, my father travelled a lot for work, so it was Mom who nurtured this family”. Becoming a caregiver meant not only looking after their mother’s needs but also taking over some of her previous responsibilities. It was in this period that Hussein and his siblings decided that they needed someone who could manage their mother’s Activities of Daily Living. Hiring a Professional Caregiver allowed the Maliks to expand their focus. Hussein says, “After we got a caregiver, we were able to go out and speak with other doctors and see what else we could do to improve her experience. We got her some canvas, so she could resume painting. She now paints with her left hand. We were able to spend quality time with her. That is something that Life Circle has enabled us to do”.
While The Maliks are on the path to acceptance with respect to their mother’s condition, they are quite happy with their current caregiver Kamala. Hussein says, “I think because she is close to my mother in age and very patient, they are able to bond together. Kamala aunty has a knack of understanding my mother”.
Oftentimes, having a professional caregiver can allow us a little peace of mind and allow us to shift focus from the routine to the important, the relationship and emotional care that only we can give our parents.