‘Finding a person who will stay for a long time is difficult’
When V.K. Radha, 60 years old, hired a nurse from an old-age home to look after her ailing mother, V.K. Rukmini, 87 years old, she didn’t bargain for the nurse leaving them in just 15 days. “She left for her home for Onam and did not even give us a hint about quitting the job. When we called her, she said she had to leave to take care of her sick mother.”
Home nurses have always been high on demand. The need is more in families where the elderly themselves have to single-handedly take care of their old-age and bed-ridden parents.
However, finding a person who will stay for a long time is difficult.
Reliability is another issue, says Radha.
“A home nurse does not belong to your family, yet knows all about you. This can be dangerous if the person has bad intentions.”
Apeetha Venkatraman 74 years old, still remembers the day last year when she saw her husband, Venkatraman, 80 years old, collapse, as he got out of his car.
“He suffered from a brain stroke and was paralysed from neck down. Even though I have no ailments, I needed a man’s assistance to nurse him. I needed help to turn him on both sides as otherwise he could develop bed sores.”
So, she hired a home nurse through an agency. But the man stayed just for one night. He left the next day without saying a word.
“I decided not to call a home nurse. I called the temporary nurse the hospital had sent us. He has been staying with us for a long time now. But when he takes leave, it is tough for me to manage.”
Some people do not look for a home nurse due to the high fees they charge. Kalyani Lakshminarayan, 67 years old, helps her 94-year-old mother-in-law Parvati Raman, who walks with the help of a walker.
“I have been taking care of her for the past 11 years and will continue if my health permits. We cannot afford home nurses as they ask for a lot of money. And moreover, there is the added responsibility to meet their demands for food, clothes and other expenses.”