Here is an episode that made Geeta Kumana sit up and think about ways to help
those in dire need, which resulted in the creation of Prime Health Support in 2017.
It all started when a friend living in the United States had asked her for advice
on ways to take care of her old and ailing parents who lived in India. The funny thing
is that not everybody can be a ‘caregiver’. But, since Kumana was already taking care
of her old father who lived in Pune, Maharashtra, and had had a lot of experience in
dealing with similar situations, it made it easy for her to help her friend.
Initially, she did not quite like the idea of charging for her services. But, later, she
realised that care-giving was something important and much needed in India. Her
two mantras for success in her venture are ‘compassion’ and ‘patience’. She knows
that one needs to help elderly people do things by themselves — if they are capable of
doing them independently — instead of making them dependent on others; of course,
for this, the client needs to be of a sound mental state.
Most elderly citizens in India are taken for a ride in innumerable ways by unknown
people and this upsets Kumana very much. She wants to make sure that this does not
happen to those who need her the most in the twilight years of their lives and this
desire spurs her on in life. Many elderly people are helpless and frail — sometimes,
simply lonely for want of company — and she wants them to know that they can
depend on her without being cheated.
Also, India is not a country where wheelchairs are freely accessible, so she realises
the frustrations of older people who are not able to get where they want to. She follows the motto, “It’s not their fault!” because she knows that it is only because of
their old age and failing health that they are unable to do certain things which
younger people normally can.
Who is a caregiver and what is their exact role? Kumana waxes eloquent on this
point. “A caregiver is someone who feels the need to look after frail, old, ill or lonely
people through a humanitarian lens — not a commercial one. The caregiver must
look after people without making them dependent on him/her; the less a client needs
the caregiver, the better it is for the client.
“A caregiver is also someone who needs to take into consideration all opinions — the
client’s, the relatives’ and even, sometimes, the client’s friends. Just because
a caregiver has the relevant, or sufficient, experience does not mean s/he is correct at
all times while rendering their service.
“A caregiver should remember to give advice only when asked, unless an urgent — or
extreme — situation warrants it. The ultimate goal of a caregiver is to make the client
and relatives of the client happy and de-stress them. It’s important for the client’s
family to have peace of mind knowing that their relative is in the able and
experienced hands of a Prime Health Support caregiver.”