Mr Poh Khuat, 76, is sole caregiver to his wife of more than 40 years, Mdm Kang, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease more than 9 years back. Although Mr Poh was himself recently diagnosed with Stage 2 Lung Cancer, he remains single-minded in his desire to personally care for his wife, bouncing back into action within a short time after undergoing chemotherapy himself. The couple have 3 daughters and 1 son who do not live with them.
Despite his wife’s inability to walk or to recognise him since 2016, Mr Poh has taken this setback in his stride as he accepts the loss of function was inevitable. He remains stoic and committed to ensuring that Mdm Kang knows that she is being cared for and loved by him. Despite having hurt himself before when lifting her, he insists on personally caring for Mdm Kang as long as he is physically able, deferring suggestions to admit his wife into a nursing home.
Mr Poh has been outgoing and resourceful in seeking ways to keep his wife socially engaged. The couple have attended Memories Café at the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) regularly since it was initiated in 2016. He took pains to learn how to record video clips on his mobile phone in order to help Mdm Kang reminisce the activities she enjoyed at Memories Café. Mr Poh’s devotion to Mdm Kang and his gentle manner with others has touched fellow caregivers, volunteers and staff at ADA as well. They have been inspired by his patient and loving manner with his wife, as well as his generosity of spirit to engage other seniors with Alzheimer’s at the ADA Memories Café sessions.
Mr Poh’s resilience and patience in the face of Mdm Kang’s challenging behaviours stems from his full acceptance of her deteriorating condition which he realises is not reversible. Despite the exhaustion experienced in cleaning up after her and her challenging behaviour, Mr Poh seldom raises his voice or gets upset with his beloved wife. He notes pointedly that staying calm, focused and persevering is part and parcel of being a caregiver – and to get on to do what needs to be done.