With both parents previously working as nurses since the 1950s-60s, and them having dealt with a myriad of conditions and patients in the past, never once did Brinda Naidu imagine taking on the role of a caregiver herself. But today, more empowered than ever, watch as Brinda overcomes life’s struggles to be a compassionate caregiver to her father with dementia.
To say that life has been tough on Brinda Naidu would be an understatement.
In her early 40s, Brinda was diagnosed with third-stage breast cancer. She went through several rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and surgery; she also describes this as a time which showed her who her true friends in life were. After two years, ending in mid-2014, she emerged from the battle with cancer as a survivor, and has been in remission ever since.
But through her trauma of battling cancer, coupled with previously working as a preschool teacher and MOE senior school counsellor, Brinda also admits to experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress even until today. It is a phenomenon she explains to be “compassion fatigue”, a type of burnout normally experienced by caregivers and those in caring professions, such as counsellors, social workers, paramedics, and nurses, which sets in after years of constantly helping others and not being able to gain respite or self-care. Now at age 52, Brinda still receives psychiatric therapy to help maintain her personal mental health.
So, when Brinda’s father Shan was diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2016, she bravely took on the additional challenge to become his primary caregiver. Through Dementia Singapore’s Voices for Hope empowerment programme, as well as through navigating other educational dementia resources, Brinda is now truly able to juggle her own issues and still be a passionate and loving caregiver to her father.
Aside from her dementia care journey with her father, Brinda also takes care of her mother Saro, who is likewise an ex-nurse and kidney cancer survivor.
As both her siblings are living overseas, Brinda manages her caregiving duties together with her foreign domestic helper Kamiati, or affectionally known as Yati for short, who has been with the family since March 2017. Brinda considers Yati to be a true part of the family, often buying and sending Hari Raya gifts to Yati’s daughter back in Indonesia. Equally, Yati has also learned the Naidu family’s Deepavali traditions and secret home-made recipes.
Hear Brinda’s full story today:
This video is made in collaboration with One FM 91.3, as part of a wider dementia awareness and fundraising campaign titled ONE with Dementia.
This Christmas and New Year’s, let’s show our support to families just like the Naidu’s. Donate to the ONE with Dementia campaign today and stand in solidarity with those impacted by dementia, especially dedicated and tenacious caregivers like Brinda.
About the campaign
Kicked off in September 2021, ONE with Dementia features radio commercials and regular live interviews held on The Big Show – One FM’s morning drive show with veteran DJs The Flying Dutchman, Glenn Ong and Angel Teo. The sessions are also simulcasted on The Big Show TV, their Facebook Live counterpart.
From now till February 2022, catch exciting guests and self-advocates led by Dementia Singapore on The Big Show on alternate Wednesday mornings.
#ICYMI – Rewatch our appearances on One FM’s The Big Show TV via the links below!
|Mr Jason Foo,
CEO of Dementia Singapore
|Intro to Dementia Singapore and the dementia care landscape|
|Mr Sherwan Sharip,
Director of Fundraising and Volunteer Management
|The importance of fundraising for social service agencies|
|Ms Mary-Ann Khoo, Consultant, and
Ms Alison Lim, Dementia Self-Advocate
|Business Toolkit for a Dementia-Inclusive Singapore|
|Ms Munah Bagharib,
Dementia Singapore Ambassador and Caregiver
|My journey with dementia|
|Ms Koh Hwan Jing, Director of Community Enablement, and
Ms See Yen Theng, Senior Director of Community Mental Health Division at AIC
|Ms Bridget Goh,
|Caregiver challenges and burnout|
|Ms Emily Ong,
|My journey with dementia and the importance of self-advocacy|
|Mr Stanley Ho,
Director of Advocacy & Communications
|CARA and dementia advocacy|
|Ms Jacinta Conceicao,
Dementia Self-Advocate and Caregiver
|My journey with dementia|