Nang Wanni is a 74 years old mother to three grown children. She also acts as secondary caregiver to her two grandchildren.
Nang Wanni’s husband passed away some time ago, and all but one of her children has moved away. Her son lives nearby and has two children. He and his wife work in the rice field during the days.
Due to Wanni’s age and mobility issues with her arm she no longer works, and now helps take care of her grandchildren. Fon, 22 years old, has a mental disability and cannot be left alone to care for herself. We suspect her younger sister might as well.
The concept of daycare is non-existent in Thailand (or at least in the Isan villages). Responsibility of taking care of the kids while the parents work commonly defaults to the grandparents. It is a very common sight for grandparents and extended family members to share primary caregiving responsibilities, and Nang Wanni is no exception.
Fon’s family does not own the home they are living in. The parent’s income usually covers rent, but often just barely. Responsibility still falls on Nang Wanni to help care for her grandchildren. We gave both Wanni a care package to assist her in providing food for her grandchildren as well as taking care of her own needs. We gave another care package to Fon to take home to her parents.
Nang Wanni often feels dizzy and nauseous. We started hearing this complaint from quite a few elders, so we’ve started to include a small menthol inhaler for sniffing on. The mix of herbs and mentol provide a temporary relief. That may have been her favorite part of the care package!