Caregiving for seniors is a tough job as it involves a lot of hard work, patience and compassion. As a result, very few people take this up as a profession. At the same time, a few that decide on caregiving as a profession, seem to derive satisfaction from it. Murchana Chetia, a recently inducted home attendant at Life Circle seems to be one such caregiver. We spoke with her to understand her and her journey so far.

 

Tell us a little bit about your family and your native place

I am from Golaghat district, Assam. My family comprises of my parents and younger brother. My father is a construction contractor and my mother is a housewife.

 

What did you do before you joined Caregiver training?

I have studied up to class 12. Before taking up caregiver training, I used to conduct tuitions for young children.

 

Why did you choose to be a professional caregiver?

Assam mein jyada kuch bhi nahi hai. Jo bhi karna hai, bohat padhai karna hoga, nahi to bahar jana padega, nahi to paisa bhi dalna padega, iske alava kuch bhi nahi hai. (In Assam, there aren’t many job opportunities. As a consequence, you have to either study a lot, or have to go out of Assam or pay money to get a job. There are no other options.)

I dropped out of college when my father met with an accident a few years ago. My father heard about Life Circle’s training centre in Assam from his friends. I visited the centre with my mother where we were told about the nature of work. I thought I could do it.

What does your family think about your work as a caregiver?

Itne sare log Assam se bahar ja rahe hai. Tum kisi ke ghar mein rahoge to security bhi hai. Jahan bhi jao, achche se raho. Hame koi problem nahi hai. (Lot of people travel out of Assam for jobs. Her parents think that because she works in people’s houses, she’ll be safe. They wish I do well. I have no problems.)

Tell us about your training, what did you learn?

We learnt a lot during the training. I learnt how to use a nebuliser on a patient, how to check BP, how to change diapers, bed making, how to wear a mask, how to keep the patient’s surrounding clean, how to behave with a patient (handling challenging behaviour) so many things. Now, when I see a senior patient, I know what to do (in terms of caregiving). I feel good about it. We learnt a lot in 2 months in the classroom.

 

Tell us about your daily schedule of Care Activities.

(Murchana currently cares for a senior living with dementia) My day starts at 7 am when the patient wakes up. I change her diaper, bathe her, dress her and feed her breakfast. There is a time table to follow. Taking the senior out for a walk two times a day, engaging her through the day, and feeding her at the right time are all important tasks. I also follow the medicine chart written out by the patient’s family. I read medicine names.

 

What has changed in your life since you joined Life Circle?

I feel good and like it here. When the family of the senior says – “Tum nahi hai to mein mummy ko chod ke kaise jati? Achcha lagta hai ki mere upar vishwas karte hai.” (If you weren’t here, I wonder how I would leave my mother alone and go out (to work). They place a lot of trust in me. I feel valued. )

Ghar se door hoon, taklif hoti hai, par kaam mein busy hojati hoon to thik lagta hai. (It is difficult to be away from home, but I’m able to handle that because I get busy at work)

Ghar mein aise hi nahi baithi hoon. Kuch kar rahi hoon. Or mummy papa se paise poochne se achcha, mein khud hi kama rahi hoon. Kuch Ghar bhi bhejoon. (I’m not idling away at home. I’m doing something substantial. Instead of asking my parents for money, I’m earning it myself. I send some money home every month. )

What are your future plans?

I haven’t thought about what I’ll do next. I’ll save some money. I’ll need it anytime. I send some money home. I feel good. My parents feel happy too. They feel confident.

What has changed in your life since you joined Life Circle?

I feel good and like it here. When the family of the senior says – “Tum nahi hai to mein mummy ko chod ke kaise jati? Achcha lagta hai ki mere upar vishwas karte hai.” (If you weren’t here, I wonder how I would leave my mother alone and go out (to work). They place a lot of trust in me. I feel valued. )

Ghar se door hoon, taklif hoti hai, par kaam mein busy hojati hoon to thik lagta hai. (It is difficult to be away from home, but I’m able to handle that because I get busy at work)

Ghar mein aise hi nahi baithi hoon. Kuch kar rahi hoon. Or mummy papa se paise poochne se achcha, mein khud hi kama rahi hoon. Kuch Ghar bhi bhejoon. (I’m not idling away at home. I’m doing something substantial. Instead of asking my parents for money, I’m earning it myself. I send some money home every month. )

What are your future plans?

I haven’t thought about what I’ll do next. I’ll save some money. I’ll need it anytime. I send some money home. I feel good. My parents feel happy too. They feel confident.

Would you like to recommend care-giving as a profession to your friends?

“Haan aake dekho, tumhe achcha lagega” (Come here and experience it for yourself, you’ll like it)

Life Circle for Caregivers

Life Circle, in collaboration with Numaligarh Refineries trains young people from low income households to become geriatric caregivers. Most of them are girls and school dropouts. Life Circle is an Associate of the Health Sector Skills Council. We follow the curriculum prescribed by the sector skills council. In the design of the curriculum, we have integrated best practices from our French partner, Groupe SOS. Dr P.V. Sarada, a passionate educationist has been instrumental in conceptualizing and developing course content for the training.

The work that caregivers perform is essential to our society and care-giving is a dignified livelihood option for young people.

 

About the author

Madhumita
Madhumita is a familial caregiver to her mother-in-law who lives with dementia and a full-time mom of a bubbly 3-year-old. She meets and interacts with Life Circle’s clients to understand various aspects of Geriatric care and care needs with the aim of serving our clients in a better way.

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