By Huang Lijie
Guilt fills James Teo at times, when he looks in the eyes of his octogenarian father. The latter, largely wheelchair-bound and reticent, has dementia.
Teo says: “I see a deep sorrow in him that I feel helpless about. There is no way for me to reach out to him.”
That he visits his father, who lives with a domestic helper, once a week and not more frequently, also eats away at him. “I feel like I’m not a good son, yet I don’t have the capacity to do more,” says the 46-year-old, who also looks after his father’s various medical needs and appointments.
But the founder of the graphic and communications design studio ampulets is learning to give himself a break – from the mental, physical and emotional strain of being a caregiver.
The turning point for him came recently after he worked on the art project, Personally Speaking: The Art of Caregiving. Since then, his message to caregivers, including himself, has been: you can take a break.