New Companion


We have an addition to the household. A new person, brought in to help look after Mom. It cannot be helped, Mom needs a lot more assistance nowadays, and I could not keep taking time off work and being awake half the night.

So we did what anyone else in Singapore would do in the circumstances, we applied for a FDW – a foreign domestic worker. At last count, there are over 200,000 FDWs in Singapore (population 5.5 million). FDWs are here to do housework, look after young children, and care for the elderly. It’s a viable, affordable, multi-purpose solution to our burgeoning caregiving problem as more and more people get older and sicker and need assistance.

Unfortunately, I think it is but a temporary solution, and maybe in 5 to 10 years, we will have to think of something else. This is when the countries where the FDWs come from progress economically and they no longer have to come to Singapore to work. But that’s a problem for another day. Meanwhile, I am so thankful.

Mom is at peace and laughs. There’s someone to help her with her showers, and accompanies her day and night. She gets hot food and clean clothes and takes her medications on time. And I take this respite and carry on and catch up on stuff that was put on hold.

Mom is not getting much exercise nor additional mental stimulation. We’re all just happy that she came through her major medical issues and is still alive. She watches TV and walks to the toilet and sits at the dinner table. During weekends, I take her out for a meal and care for her on the FDW’s day off. So that’s our routine now.

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22 thoughts on “New Companion”

  1. That’s good. I’m glad you’re getting some relief, and employing someone in need at the same time. It’s too bad the fertility rate is in such decline there. More in-country young people to help care for the old would be a great help.

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    1. True! At some point, we will need to tap on the young people. At the moment, young people are much more expensive than FDWs and not only that, they will not be able to do this sort of work!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you’ve found help – and that your mum is happy with having someone else around. Enjoy your respite. It will make things a little easier all round.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Having to share the same roof with a FDW can sometimes take getting used to. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and I am very happy that your mother now has someone to see to her needs and you get some time to do your own thing. Good for everyone all round.

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  4. I am glad you have some extra help, but this list brings back some of the feelings of loneliness and helplessness that can be overwhelming when you are trying to make a good life for someone living with dementia.

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  5. Hello, Frangipani, thank you for following my blog. I went through about 2 years of ‘respite care’
    with my wife Molly. Wow. She rejected several people and even hit our friend who was also her caregiver on respite duty. I hope for a calm and peaceful time for you and your mother. Molly is in a facility now in late stage. She is calm and friendly and smiles a lot. Everyone there loves her.

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    1. Hello, Willem. Thank you. Mom is calm and peaceful now, and most of the time, it is me who feels otherwise. Wishing you all the very best – this is a terrible disease.

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  6. That is wonderful that you have some help in the house. Our mum is now on end of life medication and it is so hard being across the Atlantic, trying to book flights. We like to focus on the wonderful years Mum had before Alzheimer’s disease took hold and are so grateful for the wonderful, loving staff in her care home. Thank you for visiting Postcards from Kerry

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    1. It sounds like your Mum had good years in the care home too. It’s all part of the same journey.
      I’m glad to have a little help now, and trying to remember to make each day special in its own way.

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