Caregiving and Me

Michelle Low (Arts and Social Sciences ’93)

How has taking care of your mother affected the way you live your life?

My mother suffered from vascular dementia and declined over a period of 14 -15 years. From being able to walk with a quad stick to becoming completely bedridden and tube fed, I witnessed the loss of her independence - which was something she cherished. Her condition was the result of not caring for her health and not taking her hypertension pills after her first stroke when she was in her 40s.

Having gone through caring for her and making arrangements for her care, I resolved to keep healthy by taking my own hypertension medication as prescribed, getting twice yearly medical checkups, and exercising regularly. I also do not intend to retire fully but continue to work part-time for as long as possible.

How would you like to live your life as you age? Could you share with us what you think would help you personally achieve this?

I like travelling. Physically, I would like to walk independently for as long as possible and for my body to be flexible and healthy. To this end, I do yoga, watch my diet, and walk my dogs daily.

Mentally, I would like to be engaged and learn new things and skills. I’ve been thinking about learning to play the piano once I stop working full time. 

Many of us wish to fulfilling lives as independently as possible as we age. From your experience as a caregiver, what do you think would help people live better lives as they age?

Be kinder to each other. We should use Design Thinking approach when designing our services and surroundings. Also, as people age, their eyesight and hearing may not be as sharp so do be understanding and lend a helping hand, listening ear, and a watchful eye.