4 min read
If you are an NRI, there’s one important aspect you always keep in mind, the time available with your parents is limited. You can visit them in India for a certain number of days, and they might come over to your city and stay for a period of time, but that’s pretty much it. When you decide to have children of your own, the little time there is decreases even further. At the same time, your parents might start requiring care and a lot more emotional support in a new phase of their life, even if it means on a video call. How do you provide care for your parents whilst keeping a deep, meaningful connection?
How COVID has made it worse for Pooja and her father
Meet Pooja Sharma, an NRI from Mumbai and now living in Boston, USA. Her father lives alone in Mumbai, after her mother’s death a few years ago. In 2019, while she was in Mumbai for a visit, her father was diagnosed with early signs of dementia.
Pooja was planning to call her father to the USA on medical grounds. She was working on his USA visa from Boston when the Covid-19 struck and the world went into the lockdown. Pooja, as expected, was quite worried about her father wellbeing and not being able to support him or progress with her plan.
At the end of 2019, Pooja had registered with us online. ParentCare was just starting at that point and we were focusing all our efforts on supporting NRIs and learning more about their needs. She reached out to ParentCare to ask for help.
Here are the challenges Pooja was facing, as we identified during the first call – they might sound familiar to many of you:
1. How would Pooja’s father manage basic necessities during the lockdown?
2. With his dementia progressing, Pooja was also finding it difficult to communicate with her father and understand his needs.
3. At the same time, there was the worry of long-term care if the US visa does not work out.
Volunteers, counsellors and elderly care
To solve these challenges, ParentCare first connected her to a verified NGO whose volunteer could go and deliver medicines and groceries to her father. The volunteer’s details and his verification was confirmed with the NGO and this was shared with Pooja as well. Pooja was happy that her father would be helped by a person who understands elderly care and dementia as well.
To help Pooja with her second challenge, we arranged an online counselling session with Echoing Healthy Ageing (EHA), ParentCare partner, and dementia counsellors in Mumbai. The online session helped Pooja understand the needs and behaviour of a dementia patient and how she would need to change her communication technique with her father.
For the long-term care, if the US long-term visa does not work out, we brought to the table the option of dementia focused care home in Mumbai Aaji Care, another one of ParentCare partners. A first doctor visit from the care home was organized to better analyse the needs of Pooja’s father and how the care home would match his requirements. A report was submitted to Pooja who also had a chat with the doctor to better understand the facilities and the process.
Our team coordinated the services on the ground for Pooja without disturbing her father or getting any of their relatives involved. While ParentCare was arranging the services, Pooja found more time to bond with her father over video calls and put into practice the lessons from dementia counsellors.
As per Pooja’s words, we managed to increase access to services she had no knowledge about and also took care of all the arrangements while providing a one-stop platform for all her father’s needs. “If not for ParentCare, I would have spent most of the time in finding and managing these services in Mumbai from the USA. It would have only increased my anxiety. Instead, I got myself free from all coordination work and used the time to bond with my father during the lockdown period”.
Whether or not your parents need help right now, register with us for future
The free registration with ParentCare gives you and your parents peace of mind. You can make plans with your family knowing that we always have your back, supporting you through any medical or home care needs your parents might have. We are on a mission to simplify long-distance caregiving for all NRIs.