November 2020 – Update from the Founder and CEO
Dear Friends, Families and Fellow Caregivers,
It was just 4 years ago that Caring With You (CWY) was established with just one goal – “To Make A Difference In a Society With Dementia”, by raising the level of awareness and care for Persons with Dementia.
My Co-Founder, our very loyal, dedicated and caring team and I tried our best, and during these past few years, over 100 Persons with Dementia have crossed our Centres’ doors and experienced the CWY Approach to dementia care.
However, we never predicted that a pandemic like Covid-19, would globally turn Year 2020 into turmoil for economies, businesses, livelihoods and sadly with loss of lives. The infection risk was highest among the elderly, being the most vulnerable with their lower immune system.
Caring With You has not been spared. We sadly closed all our Centres’ operations on 31st October 2020, after striving with the help of generous donors to hold out for as long as possible from our first Movement Control Order lockdown in mid-March 2020. My Co-Founder and I had to make the very difficult decision – we weighted “sanity vs safety” of our Clients as well as reviewed the financial sustainability of Caring With You. At the end, it was morally the right decision to close, as we could not endanger the well-being of our elderly clients, for despite enforcing all the stringent SOPs, social distancing and sanitising, there was always that daily fear and risk of Covid-19 virus being carried by any of us into our Centres.
We sincerely apologise to you our friends, and your loved ones who have become like our family, for this disruption to their daily routine of coming to our Centres and not being in a position to provide you a similar alternative. We hope the training that we shared with most families will now be put into practice at home.
In the next 6 – 9 months, I hope to continue to impart the CWY Approach in dementia care and to assist in caring with Persons with Dementia, by volunteering my services to charitable aged care homes throughout the country.
Until Caring With You can re-open when the Covid-19 situation is contained and stabilized, my Co-Founder and I will keep you and your loved ones in prayer, keep safe, and continue engaging your loved ones as there is a “Me” in Dementia.
Till we meet again, Caring With You thanks you for your years of support and encouragement,
March 2017 – An Open Letter from the Founder and CEO
Dear Fellow Caregiver,
The fact that you are reading this, you must be seeking for your loved one a Dementia-specific Care Centre. It wasn’t too long ago that I was probably in the same situation as you.
At the time my mother was diagnosed with Dementia and early signs of Alzheimers, I had so little knowledge and totally underestimated the complexities in caring for a person with Dementia.
It was hard. I have to admit. Despite having both a dedicated maid and private nurse at home to take care of her, they only catered to the physical aspect of watching over and feeding Mum. None of us had the experience to cater for her mental, emotional and social needs as a person suffering from Dementia. I still had to rush home from work when I received phone calls when they could not cope with Mum’s irrational behaviors.
With the need to hold a job, the inability of us, the caregivers to cope, and my once brilliant and efficient mother not understanding basic logic, I was under high stress, absolutely frustrated, depressed and felt I was going crazy.
Like you, I started looking for a specialized Dementia daycare for her and respite for me. I visited many day care centres/ nursing homes in Klang Valley. I didn’t find any that provided a clean, bright, homely environment, where she is engaged with activities and other social interactions; not sitting staring into a television in a dingy room smelling of a mixture of urine and antiseptic, together with a large group of similarly vacant-eyed elders, with only one or two harried caregivers to take care of all their needs.
I began to read voraciously on Alzheimers to understand Mum’s fluctuating behaviour, how my family could give her the best possible care and quality life, and at the same time, what we, the caregivers needed as well to cope. As part of my search for Mum, my co-founder and I attended talks and courses provide by Alzheimers Organisations plus made educational visits to centres in Singapore and Australia.
When we stepped into those centres, we knew their approach and care environment was what we wanted for our mothers, as well as your loved ones, which is currently not available in Malaysia. As a result of that, we resolved to open a Centre providing Enrichment Programs, not just a daycare to “keep watch over” our loved ones.
I have been practicing the Person-centred Enrichment approach with my mother, and there is a difference. She still has challenging moments but now, I also have uplifting moments with her. Whilst by the next day, she may not remember the time I had with her today, it does not matter. The chuckle, the smile of glee that lit up her eyes from an activity she can participate in, is all worth it. The enrichment activities offer moments to be engaged, and this a precious relief to a person who is not fully cognizant anymore.
I know what you are going through. I went through that.
By setting up the Dementia Enrichment Program Centre, I hope we can share this journey with you, a similar memorable moment, and also a brief moment of respite for you the caregiver.
Keep your spirits up, there is help within reach.