Recently, it donned on me that, in Dementia Caregiving, we cannot totally rely on the Nurses or Volunteers in the Nursing Home, in terms of mum’s periodical upkeep of personal grooming and hygiene (PG & H) in cutting the hair and nails, digging the ears and scrubbing off the accumulated ‘dead cells’ on her feet.
I’m not implying that the nurses or volunteers aren’t doing their job or being irresponsible, but I believe it means a lot to mum, me and my wife, as it’s really meaningful with an opportunity to express our love in a more personal, tangible and practical way.
Hence, I realised that elderly caregiving is not just about paying periodical visits to mum but beyond that we need to take a personal approach in caring for her as we would ‘love ourself’.
Through the course of time, we have come to enjoy the periodical PG & H ‘rituals’ (to put it simply), in bringing mum home every quarterly, where my wife would prepare a simple home cooked meal for her and I would cut her hair, dig her ears carefully, under a bright torch light, ensuring that her ear drums would not be damaged and you’ll be amazed to find how thick the wax are accumulated inside the ears.
Until I started to do the PG & H for mum, I wouldn’t have realised how the ‘dead cells’ have accumulated and how it would have adverse effect on the skin only after I had scrubbed her feet.
In conclusion, I can only say that each time we carried out the PG & H for mum, the entire session would always give us a sense of satisfaction and enriching encounter of a deep personal connection with one another, not only as a family, but on top of that, with a sense of respect and dignity for mum as an individual, like everyone else, not withstanding her dementia.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for teaching us to love others as we would ourselves.