Jennifer Toh

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Jennifer Toh

About the Caregiver

Hi, my name is Jennifer. I have experience working as a care pro in various settings and organisations. I joined as a care pro with a purpose to provide the care recipients with love, care and concern. I am able to speak English, Mandarin and most local dialects. I am also able to understand and speak some basic Malay words/sentences. 

I had experience looking after my late grandparents, especially my late grandmother who was suffering from dementia before her passing. I used to visit her on a weekly basis. I would do some light hand and leg exercises with her. I would also engage conversations with her, shower her with lots of love and touch. I would show her the old pictures from the photo albums so as to keep her mood lifted and also to rekindle her memory. I also had experience looking after my aunt who was recuperating from her bad fall recently. 

When my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015, I was the immediate caregiver. I was with her during her pre surgery, hospitalisation and post surgery. I was also in her company throughout all her follow-up medical appointments. 

In 2018, my younger daughter had an accident which caused her T12 to be fractured. I was the sole caregiver who nursed her back to recovery. 

i always feel that being able to provide an extra pair of hands and listening ears to the seniors and their families, helping them through what is often a difficult time for them, is extremely rewarding and satisfying for me. However,  I must admit that no matter how positive we may be, there are times when we may find ourselves caring for a “grumpy old man” (or woman) as a client or relative. Some care recipients even lash out at us physically or become verbally abusive. It could be as a result of dementia or other issues that they are facing. 

Below are some of my advices and coping skills for dealing gracefully with the more demanding care recipients:

1. Use redirection and deflection techniques. If the care recipient is angry about something, don’t ignore his/her feelings, but it may be helpful to redirect the conversation or activity to something more positive.

2. Get to know the activities that the care recipient enjoys or finds comfortable doing. For example, a TV show or a certain type of movie that makes him/her laugh, or he/she may calm down when listening to his/her favorite music. We can also try to let the care recipient do a little bit of walking if his/her mobility permits. Exercise produces healthy endorphins, which are known to help with mood so a regular walk/exercise can be an important tool for mood and well-being.

3. Monitor and modify your own reactions. It’s easy to get stressed in situations dealing with a challenging care recipient or loved one. It seems especially hard with loved ones, because you bring your history to the situation and it may be hard to separate behavior related to a disease like dementia from the person you know. Take a moment to catch your breath before you walk in to greet the person. Try to leave other life stresses behind, as your attitude will affect the care recipient’s. 

When you find that the care recipient is not really responding to you well despite exercising the above, ask yourself if there is something more going on? Depression in the elderly often presents with symptoms such as agitation, restlessness and cognitive issues. You may think the person is just irritable when they are really depressed and could benefit from treatment. People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience behavioral symptoms such as agitation, paranoia, and even hallucinations and delusions. Always update the care recipient's family about his/her mood changes so that psychiatrist or neurologist can be arranged to help them. It is also important to explore possible sources of discomfort for your care recipient. His/her irritation or anger may be a sign of unwell or pain. 

I believe my ability to emphatise and  communicate with people, to listen and explain things clearly and patiently in both a technical and non-technical way, is one of the things that makes me stand out as a good care professional.