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Caring for senior citizens

Updated Sunday, April 15th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3
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Joyce Wanjiku Kairu lived on the fast lane. She earned top dollar as a project manager working in South Africa. Holiday destinations like Australia and America were her playing field. But a personal tragedy changed all this. KIUNDU WAWERU brings her unlikely story.

It was during one of her visits home, in January 2010 that Joyce Wanjiku learnt that her mother was suffering from cancer. After a while, she went back to South Africa and would occasionally send money for her mother’s chemotherapy.

Joyce with some of the elderly people she assists. [Photo: Courtesy]

It was business as usual for Joyce, she now remembers regretfully, saying that she took a sabbatical and travelled first to Australia and then America.

After a while, her mother passed on at the age of 64. Joyce snapped.

"I should have come home and stayed with my mother," says Joyce emotionally. "She had ailed for about ten years and I did not know about it."

Joyce became delusional and would blame herself for her mother’s death.

"I had neglected her," she says.

After six months of living in a ‘crazed’ state, Joyce quit her job with a top South African firm.

Filthy houses

In those six months, Joyce would visit the elderly in South Africa, helping those in need.

She admits that she was consumed with guilt for ‘neglecting’ her mother and the only way to save herself was to reach out to the elderly. With this thought, Joyce took the next flight home.

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