TL;DR – Caregiving can be very challenging in Singapore, where many children of the elderly patients are stressed out from having to juggle work and family commitments.
As an ex-nurse with over 20 years of experience, it’s no wonder that Care Professional (CP) Tashna Abdullah is a multilingualist. She is fluent in English, Malay and Chinese and is also able to speak dialects such as Teochew and Hokkien.
“It’s very useful”, she quips and goes on to mention that speaking many languages helps her when communicating with the elderly she cares for, most of whom speak Chinese and various dialects.
Caregiving – A role Tashna can meaningfully contribute
Tashna opened up on how she joined Homage, one of the leading care services providers in Singapore with various holistic home and community-based caregiving for seniors and adults.
She sadly lost her mother in 2017 and felt quite down for a period of time. In 2019, she was in a better space and started to look for a role she can meaningfully contribute to. She felt drawn to caregiving as she sincerely enjoys taking care of the elderly and it was a role in which she had accumulated prior experience in, having had stints at an old age home.
Tashna truly believes that the elderly are not difficult to care for.
When speaking with her, she exudes a quiet confidence, her know-how and expertise honed over two decades of caregiving. To her, it just depends on the situation and how she adapts to it.
She shared about Mrs C, one of the elderly patients she regularly cares for, who also lives with dementia. Mrs C’s medical condition makes it difficult for her domestic helper to care for her but Tashna is able to use her experience to her advantage and gain Mrs C’s compliance.
She also mentioned Mdm G as one of the more challenging seniors she has had to care for as Mdm G has erratic behaviour at times due to her condition. She can sometimes be physically agitated and/or refuse to eat or shower adamantly. It takes a lot of patience and coaxing from Tashna to be able to calm Mdm G down.
Many times, Tashna goes above and beyond, heading over to a patient’s home early so that she can help them slowly warm up to her.
A Sincere Heart and Patience
One must have a sincere heart and be patient – two qualities Tashna feels would make a good caregiver. She emphasised how important it is for caregivers to put themselves in the shoes of the elderly to better empathise with their situation and understand medical conditions.
Tashna is also aware of how challenging caregiving can be in Singapore, where many children of the elderly patients are stressed out from having to juggle work and family commitments.
The struggles caregivers faced were recently brought up in the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development which called for more support and recognition for caregivers.
Labour MP Yeo Wan Ling also spoke of the continued push for meaningful and diverse careers for women; discrimination-free workplaces and work-life harmony in the new norm of flexible work arrangements.
When asked about hobbies and what she enjoys doing in her free time to relieve stress, Tashna speaks about her love for cooking. Her specialties include seafood as well as curry chicken and she loves cooking up a storm in her kitchen and welcoming friends and family for meals.
We end our interview with her extending an invitation to me to come by her place to try her cooking, an offer I will seriously consider. It’s ever so apparent that Tashna’s friendly and gentle demeanor coupled with her sincerity is what wins the hearts of the elderly she cares for. Indeed, they are in good hands.