Indira has been caring for her aunt who has Alzheimer’s disease for five years. She believes older people deserve to be treated with respect.
Indira is 65 year and from India. She came to London five years ago to care for her aunt, Maria, who is 85 and has Alzheimer’s disease. Back in India, Indira ran a charity for destitute older people, but when her cousin contacted her and told her that their aunt had been found unconscious in her flat and that she was now in a psychiatric ward in hospital, Indira agreed to come for four months initially.
Indira was shocked by the conditions in which her aunt was living, both at the hospital and at home. At the hospital she had been groped by a male patient and Indira didn’t think the health professionals dealt with it properly. Indira was also shocked that no one in had intervened as Maria over the years had gradually been reduced to beg for food and to live in abject poverty. Possibly due to her Alzheimer, she had signed papers which gave her bank the Right of Attorney for what she had inherited from her wealthy husband, but which she did not receive.
When she arrived in the UK, Indira didn’t know her aunt. Maria had grown up in Ireland where her family had hidden their Indian identify by pretending to be Spanish. As a result Maria never wanted any contact with her Indian relatives. Because of Maria’s anti-Indian feelings, Indira has not said that she is her niece despite now having lived with her for five years.
Indira misses her work and her family back home. She finds her current life hard, but says that she has made a promise to care for Maria and to make sure she has a good and dignified life. Her aunt can sometimes be very angry and difficult to deal with, but what Indira finds hardest is to have to put up with the way in which Mary is treated by the home cares who come in to change and wash her. Indira finds some of their behaviour rude and disrespectful to her aunt. She has made complaints about some carers, but does not feel her concerns are always taken seriously.
Indira is member of several charities that provide help to her and her aunt.