Personalised Care For The Elderly
Caring for the ill and elderly comes with its own set of requirements, so the first thing the company would do is assess the client’s need.
Depending on the situation, the client may need the help of a general caregiver, a specialist carer or a nurse. For example, a client who’d just undergone hip replacement surgery will need someone with a physiotherapy background.
They will then decide on an arrangement — how many days a week for how many hours? Some will need all-day care seven days a week, others eight to 10 hours on weekdays while the children are at work, and some even less than that.
It’s all part of personalising care, Kim explains, and it’s important to get the relationship right with the client and their family. The caregiver is coming into the family home, so there has to be a feeling of trust and comfort for everyone involved.
Help At Hand
“What we offer is very flexible,” says Liyana Razak, the director of corporate services for Cality Care.
“For example, a housewife who is caring for a bedridden parent at home can take our services for two days a week. She can use that time to go out and spend time for herself.
“This eases the pressure and burden on her tremendously, while at the same time, she knows her parent is well taken care of and she has nothing to worry about. By the time she gets home the parent has been bathed and fed and everyone is happy.”
Some clients may be mobile, but need company when they go out to avoid getting lost or hurt. Others might need company and specialised activities at home.
Liyana cites an example of a client with dementia who they helped by recreating his office at home and getting him to practice his signatures.
“Our dementia clients previously had big roles in the community and in the family,” says director of care Hizlan Hasanuddin. “We will try as much as possible to give back those roles to them or adapt it to their current situation.
“For a wife and mother who used to cook big meals for the family, we will use cooking as one of the specialised activities. We will simplify it, and our staff is trained at all the verbal and physical cues because when you have dementia, you have a problem recognising and memorising things.”
In case of emergency, Cality Care staff is trained to coordinate with transport or ambulance services and accompany the client to the hospital. They will liaise with A&E doctors, provide them with the client’s medical history and inform family members.
The company has around 80 caregivers and 30 locum nurses, who they place with clients following the initial assessment.
It’s a bit like Grab, to put it rather indelicately, but for elderly support services instead of transport.
Every three weeks Hizlan will meet the client and their family to get feedback, including on how they get along with the caregiver. The relationship is a very personal one, and they want to provide peace of mind for everyone involved.
The Age Gap
IT’S projected that there will be 3.5 million people aged 60 and above in Malaysia by 2020, but there is still a gap in the care for the aged and elderly.
“There’s a saying in Korean, ‘there’s nothing more devastating than getting old,’” says Cality Care CEO James Kim.
“Nobody listens to you and you get pushed aside. That’s the order of things, where young people are busy because of work and other things.
“But what the children don’t realise is the issue of taking care of their parents is an overnight problem. They don’t think about it until one day, they have to because something has happened to their parents. And most people don’t know what to do. They don’t even know that services like ours exist.”
While it doesn’t feel true to our Asian values to “outsource” personalised care for the elderly, hiring someone outside the family to take care of aged family members should not be seen as a lack of filial piety.
“It’s one way of showing love, by having a trained professional take care of them,” says director of care Hizlan Hasanuddin. “And in the last few years, we have seen how the community has become more receptive towards getting help.”