Caregiver Helps Provide a ‘Normal Life’

Portrait of couple

From the time he met his caregiver, Jai Kalicharan started to feel as if he’s living a normal life again. Jai has received support from Full Life Care’s Home Care services for more than a year now, and caregiver Maimuna Abdi has been with him the whole time.

“Before this; for a while, I was left alone,” he said. “It was not good. I didn’t have anyone to help me. Now, it’s like a normal life. Maimuna takes good care of me. I’m happy with her, with the services she provides and the care she gives.”

He looked over at her and grinned. “She’s good at cooking Indian food.”

Jai is Hindu, and he follows closely the ways of his Indian heritage. His caregiver Maimuna is Somali, and was more familiar with sambusa and malawah than she was with tikka masala or chaat. She learned to cook the foods he loves.

“Jai offered me some tips, but I mainly look at YouTube,” she said.

Keeping up the Good Work

Every client of Full Life’s Home Care program has a health plan based on their level of need. A supervisor visits twice a year to review health plans, update information, and to generally check in to see how clients are getting along with their caregivers.

During a recent six-month review, Home Care Supervisor Hoda Arten visited Jai’s apartment in South Seattle. They went over each step of Jai’s health plan. She asked about any changes to his wellbeing. They discussed all of the services his caregiver can provide for him.

Maimuna comes to Jai’s home four days a week for four hours a day. She can help him bathe, stand and walk. She can clean and cook, and take him to appointments.

Jai appreciates it all. Not long ago, Jai spent time in a nursing home working through health issues and healing from physical injuries, he said. Nearly 20 years ago, Jai was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He still struggles with health issues, including diabetes. He uses a walker, and said his doctor recommended a wheelchair when he goes out.

Hoda asked Jai questions about how he’s doing, if he has any needs.

“Weekends. If she’s not here on Monday, it’s hard for me,” he said. “Maimuna makes food for me on Fridays for the weekends, but if there’s a holiday or she can’t come on Monday, I have trouble.”

“OK, we’ll work on that,” Hoda said. “Maybe a substitute caregiver when Maimuna can’t come.”

Connecting through Culture

Between topics of the review, Jai talked about his culture and asked Hoda about hers. He told a tale of an Indian princess and her five husbands, all brothers. “It’s true,” he said.

Jai came to the U.S. from Fiji 18 years ago.

“I came to this country with my family: my wife and two daughters. When I came to this country, I learned that I was born on Thanksgiving Day,” Jai said. “I didn’t know what that was. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.”

Once all the review paperwork was done and signed, Hoda asked permission to walk through the apartment. It’s her final check to ensure everything is clean and in place, that walkways are clear.

Meanwhile, Jai teased Maimuna about her YouTube views to learn about Indian foods.

“I had no idea how to make curry chicken,” she said, laughing. “Rice, I can do.”

This is Maimuna’s second time working for Full Life Care. She left in 2015, returned in 2017 and started working with Jai.

“We have a nice relationship,” she said. “We joke a lot.”

Learn more about Home Care and what it takes to be a Caregiver.