Caregiver Stories

Spurred on by Love

Post on 19/06/16

S.P.U.R is a word that gives great meaning to Amy Tham’s role as caregiver to her mother, who survived a stroke. Find out from Amy what it means.

My mother had a fall and sustained an inch-long cut on her forehead and a fractured left arm. Three days later, a stroke suddenly struck her and immobilised the right side of her body and affected her vocal chords.

At that moment, I was at a great loss as to how to face the reality of my mother’s stroke, as my father was also a stroke victim in 1982. He had passed away after struggling for 10 hours without regaining consciousness. All I could do for my mother was to console her, and I wept silently whenever I was alone.

When her condition became stable, I began to accept the situation and readjusted my lifestyle to accommodate her. I came up with my own theory, abbreviated as S.P.U.R., to overcome this tragedy.

S.P.U.R. stands for sacrifice, patience, understanding, and responsibility.

For me, a sacrificial spirit has been key in taking care of my mother’s basic daily needs. Due to her immobility and inability to express herself clearly, she had and still has a tendency to lose her temper, and it takes a lot of patience and understanding on my part as a caregiver to meet her emotional needs, without compromising my own mental health. Of course, I need to adopt a more responsible attitude and fulfil my duties as a daughter.

The first step I took after my mother’s discharge from hospital was to maintain my health, which meant forcing myself to take light bites, even during times when I had no appetite. Occasionally, I would pamper myself with tonic soup or essence to help relieve fatigue.

Garden (small)

Whenever my mother is in high spirits, I would take her for a stroll in the garden, bring her out to new shopping centres, or dine with her in a food court or restaurant, despite the inconveniences. Passers-by, shoppers and waitresses tend to stare or may even pass rude remarks about us. We would just ignore them, and make our outing a delightful one.


Smile (small)

The practice of being sacrificial, patient, understanding and responsible has helped me enormously in caring for my mother. In the process, I have learnt to grow as a person. Indeed, I believe S.P.U.R. helps not only the stroke survivor but also the caregiver. As it plays a crucial role in restoring the survivor’s spiritual strength and confidence in life, it gives a sense of purpose to the caregiver.

Time and again, I am rewarded with sweet smiles from my great mother, and it always makes my day. Is this not the result of S.P.U.R.?

By Amy Tham, Survivor.

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George Chiang says:

I really appreciate Amy Tham for her undying love and sacrifice which not everyone is willing to do in our present days. I myself have to look after my wife who has a stroke in 2006 coupled with dementia. Life was tough with mininal support from family. It was really very stressful. Not to mention I dare not bring her out for stroll at malls and parks. I cannot carry her as she weighs 65 kilo and myself 45 kilo. I cannot find befrienders nor friends for assistanve. Every action now requires monetary payments.

The Editor says:

Dear George, we are sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing as a caregiver. The journey of a caregiver can indeed bring with it new responsibilities and uncertainties. If you require assistance, maintains a comprehensive listing of community resources that may be useful to your situation:

Please also consider joining the Singapore National Stroke Association’s Caregiver Support Group. You may find out more about SNSA’s activities here:


Three Wisdoms I’ve Gained Caring for My Stroke Survivor

Hope from an American Survivor

The Rose Who Blossomed Despite Her Stroke

[Video Guide] Transferring a Stroke Patient


What Happens If I have Another Stroke?

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor After Your Stroke

Minister Heng Swee Keat’s Life After Stroke


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