Help for my Mother

Help for my Mother

From Georgette Pallard

I am fundraising to get my mother the care she needs in a good nursing home. Every little will go a very long way as we (my brother and I) are pretty much starting from nothing. We'll keep you updated with her progress

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Update #1

about 1 month ago

I apologise to all the supporters who tried to donate and were unable to. Upon further review, this site hasn't made it easy to make contributions - even I couldn't see where I was supposed to add this. While I'm trying to sort this out, please don't give up on me. Contact me directly by DM or email and I will send you an alternative option for your donation. Thank you again.

More Info

Thank you for taking the time to visit my mother's page. For those who know me, you'll know that it was a difficult decision for me to start this campaign but the situation is now dire and I am running out of options.

Long story short, my sweet mother  has early dementia / Alzheimer’s, as well as very painful rheumatoid arthritis which means that she now needs full time care (not yet 24 hours thankfully).

My Mother, Bang

Her full name is Pham Thi Nhu Bang, which she tells me means "pure as snow" (I've never really checked!). She's originally from Saigon, Vietnam and left just before the war when she met my father and took on his nationality, Gabonese, when they married and has lived in Gabon, Africa since 1980. So effectively, she is now African. She has always been a teacher of some kind and always loved meeting new people, making them feel welcome, helping them settle in a new country.  And she especially loves kids!  I see that now in her old age, she lights up whenever she sees a child. She used her position to help charities and the needy a lot, regularly sending boxes full of any kind of aid needed to Vietnam which was still very much closed at the time. She spoke 5 languages, took pride in her appearance and her house, and made a home as a single mother, raising 2 children, in a foreign land.

My mother has always been someone who helped people, be they family or strangers. She instilled in my brother and I the gift of empathy. She never thought about herself, sometimes to our annoyance! This unfortunately means that she has been in denial of her own needs and doesn't have any provisions for herself, and this is where we are today.

For many years, she hid her suffering from my brother and I, always maintaining that she was "always fine and happy". Little did we know that she had been living in horrible squalor with no running water for years (this is a country-wide problem in Gabon). The pain from her arthritis became so unbearable that she eventually just stopped bathing altogether and maintaining her house. Then she stopped answering the phone (which I now know was paranoia brought on by dementia). Until one of her long-time friends managed to reach out to us and told us what was happening. Needless to say, that when we got to her, her dementia was another shock we had to come to terms with. 

Stigma of Dementia

Unfortunately, dementia is not really "recognised" in some African and Asian cultures, it's just attributed to "old age". This means that Gabon doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with her condition (the country has many political and social problems anyway that I won't go into), nor does Vietnam. So, she was never properly diagnosed, but through researching her symptoms, I can definitely say that it is dementia and it’s still in the early stages. 

I'm not calling myself a doctor and I don't usually diagnose from Google. 

As those of you with parents or grandparents suffering from this disease will know, paranoia can be one of the factors and this means that we hadn't been able to get her to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Other symptoms are also present: fear of water, fears that come up as night comes (called sundowning), hoarding, forgetting the correct words for things, not recognising people, etc.

The Journey So Far

I took my mother out of Gabon in September 2019 so that she would come live with me in the UK. I'd saved almost £10000 which was to go towards our flights, visa fees, accommodation, etc. while I took her across 2 continents. Although successful in leaving Gabon, once we arrived in France at the end of October, I stumbled upon the problem of getting her a visa for London. Wonderful Brex(sh)it has made it difficult for me to sponsor my mother. Furthermore, research into care revealed to be too expensive in the UK on my little salary alone (now non existent as I had to leave my job and have been unemployed since September) and her need for full time care means that it would have to be me to care for her, without any source of income coming in. While trying to find a way out of this problem, her family in Vietnam kindly suggested taking care of her for a few months to give me time to go back to London and try and find a solution. My mother hadn't been back to her motherland for several decades, I thought this would be good for her and I, so I jumped at the opportunity, got out visas and off we went.

The 14-hour flight to Vietnam was interesting to say the least! More about that further below.

Unfortunately, the respite was short lived as the family too were shocked at my mother's state and following 2 weeks of my return to London, called me to come back urgently to pick her up again. This was December 2019, probably the worst time of the year to find a job in London, and 2 weeks wasn't nearly enough time (I'd been away for 3 months at that point). So, I came back in Jan 2020 and have been here since, trying to find a solution. In the meantime, the Vietnamese government had brought in a new rule about visa extensions for foreigners, and African passport holders in particular - I am now unable to renew her visa to stay in Vietnam long term and I still can't bring her to the UK with me.

She is now unwanted in Vietnam and the UK. Returning to Gabon is not a viable option.

The Solution?

My wonderful friends were brainstorming in the meantime, and told me about Thailand, not far from Vietnam, and where they had specialised carehomes for dementia and Alzheimers patients, run by Swiss or German companies. And this is the reason for the fundraising campaign.

Researching this extensively since last week (w/c 13 January), I truly believe that Thailand will be the right place for her. I'm not relishing the distance but this is not about me, it's about my mother. 

Pros:

- 1 year retirement visa, renewable

- 2-3 nurses per person

- 24/7 care if needed

- all meals (Western and Thai) included

- patients having their own individual rooms (having researched carehomes, most have people in dorm situations)

- excursions, physiotheraphy, exercises and best of all, company (they have multiple room villas with each patient in their own room but they share meals and entertainment together).

- everyone communicates in English (due to the international aspect of the carehomes) 

Cons: 

........ I don't really have any unless you count the distance and the initial funding hurdle. 

Campaign Goal

The Thai government requires savings of $25000 for a Retirement visa. 

As mentioned before, my mother wasn't able to make any provisions for herself. My brother and I have pretty much exhausted all our savings in getting her out since September.

Now that I'm in Vietnam, it makes better financial sense that we both fly from here to Thailand (flights cost less than £200) than travelling all the way back to Europe (over 14 hours) and flying to Thailand from there.  My mother does not do well in planes in her current condition - on our way to Vietnam, she wanted to step outside for some fresh air and didn't understand that we were on a plane. Needless to say I had to try and keep her calm so as not to panic other passengers!

So there you have it, warts and all, though I've spared a lot more warts than written here (it's too long and complicated a story).

I'm not expecting to raise the full amount, but I'd like to raise any amount because at this stage, anything would definitely help.

My life has been put on hold since August 2019 and I have tried to look at alternative avenues, like moving myself to another country where it would be more affordable to care for her. Unfortunately, her Gabonese passport is problematic worldwide and she cannot go back to her Vietnamese nationality. While all this has been happening, I should mention that I haven't been able to be back in London long enough to deal with my accommodation for which I have still been paying rent even though I haven't lived in it fully since last year. Being single means that I don't have anyone who has keys to my place to take care of it, or even just go in to sell anything they can to raise the money. I need to be able to fly back to London for a while to sort this out myself with the landlord. In the meantime, I'm still paying for an empty flat as I had to leave as soon as was possible.

But again, this isn't about me - I will eventually be back in London and can sort my financial issues then. I first need to take care of Mum first and foremost.

Please be assured that this campaign isn’t an ongoing fundraiser as I fully intend to provide for her as soon as I can get back on my feet.  This is mainly to kickstart this new life that would provide the care and attention my mother deserves.

If you have any questions you'd like to ask before deciding whether or not this is a good cause, please contact me. I've decided that I can no longer hide the dirty laundry for the sake of appearance and if more info is needed to persuade you of the dire situation she is in, I will provide it openly.

Thank you for reading this far and thank you from the bottom of my heart for any donation, however small, you are able to make.

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Georgette Pallard posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #1

I apologise to all the supporters who tried to donate and were unable to. Upon further review, this site hasn't made it easy to make contributions - even I couldn't see where I was supposed to add this. While I'm trying to sort this out, please don't give up on me. Contact me directly by DM or email and I will send you an alternative option for your donation. Thank you again.

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