Problems caregivers face in Singapore
Find out about the issues that caregivers in Singapore are plagued with. We are bound to be involved someday—either we become caregivers or or care-receivers at some point in our lives. Thus is the circle of life. Read on for solutions.
Being a caregiver can be fulfilling as well as draining. It is a difficult job physically, mentally and emotionally and at times all consuming. This full time commitment often comes with no reward. You don’t choose that role — it chooses you.
Being caregivers in Singapore or any other country is not easy; these selfless people may spiral down to depression as proven by a study commissioned by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. In Singapore, 20% of caregivers have reported symptoms of depression.
A survey was done on 1,190 pairs of senior citizens and their caregivers in Singapore from 2009 to 2010. Here are some of the findings based on a news report on Today Online:
Take note caregivers in Singapore, having a maid in the equation actually increases negative self-esteem and does not reduce stress levels like it is intended. Taking care of older folks requires formal training and skills that half of the foreign domestic helpers lack.
According to Associate Professor Angelique Chan, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, “People feel guilty, and particularly women, because the majority of caregivers are women at 60%. You are working and you sort of wish you were at home taking care of your mother or father but you aren’t. But instead a person from a different country is — who may not even speak the language and you worry. And you start feeling bad about yourself. And that’s where this vicious cycle begins — negative self esteem leading to depression.”
Based on the study, a quarter of study participants of caregivers in Singapore are unmarried women. This raises concern as they are missing out on a life of their own while caring for an elderly.
“With our higher rates of non-marriage and divorce, we can foresee that this proportion will increase over time. That’s a cause of great concern because these unmarried women will probably have lower financial resources and are less likely to have ever worked. And when they age, the big question is who is going to take care of them?” said Associate Professor Angelique Chan.
Help is available for caregivers in Singapore…
If you seek, you will find. Caregivers should make use of formal care services. Over 95% do not utilize these services according to The Agency for Integrated Care. Available services like day-care and rehabilitation are being offered by welfare organizations.
The chief of the social care division at the Agency for Integrated Care, Kelvin Lim shared: “It’s important for us to reach out to people before they enter that part of the journey to prepare them of the challenges, stresses and joys of caregiving.
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He added: “The second thing we would be working on is to improve access to resources to caregivers — either services we can provide or other forms of resources that will help them connect to the right types of care for their families.”
Watch this informative video about how caregivers should prepare themselves mentally and emotionally as life is now going to be changed forever, now that you have taken up the role of a caregiver.