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Preparing to Care

If you are a caregiver, be prepared by learning the roles and responsibilities of caregiving and what to expect from it.

A caregiver is a person who has taken on the responsibility of looking after someone who is unable to care for himself or herself fully due to illness, frailty, disability or a mental health problem. This person could be a family member, partner, relative, friend, or neighbour.

The caregiving role may start upon your loved one's diagnosis of a medical condition, or by a particular incident such as a fall or a heart attack.


As someone who is taking care of your elderly loved one, you provide support to the person’s day-to-day activities, medical needs, the making of key decisions and emotional needs. The degree of involvement may vary according to the needs of your loved one and the stages of the caregiving. 

The needs can be broadly categorised below:

Physical needs
Helping your loved one in dressing up, toileting and conducting household tasks such as buying groceries and chores.
Health and medical needs
Ensuring your loved one is exercising, eating balanced meals, and taking medication in a timely manner.
Emotional and psycho-social needs
Providing a listening ear to your loved one, and showing care and support. You and your senior can join support groups in the community.
Spiritual needs
Encouraging your loved one to continue his/her practice of religious beliefs.
Financial and legal needs
Managing daily expenses, insurance, assets, and financial planning for his/her future. 

Many of us will have caring responsibilities at some point in our lives. The challenges we face can take many forms. Understanding your loved one’s condition, treatment and management, and progession enable you to provide optimal care and prepare for future care needs. Knowing who and where to seek help from can reduce uncertainties and avoid burnout. Recognising your own needs and capabilities as a caregiver help you to find a balance between work, caregiving, and your personal time.

It is important to consider your loved one’s care preference and to include him/her in the planning and decision-making process. Bring the different family members together to discuss the care arrangement and workload. For instance, one family member could be handling financial affairs and another providing daily care. Knowing their preferences for certain tasks can make assigning roles easier, and reduce caregiving stress. To minimise miscommunication and mismatched expectations in caregiving, there should be constant updates on the matters of your senior. Be more forgiving and understanding of each member’s caregiving role as they may face challenges that you may not know of.


FURTHER READING

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If you are a caregiver, be prepared by learning the roles and responsibilities of caregiving and what to expect from it.
If you are a caregiver, be prepared by learning the roles and responsibilities of caregiving and what to expect from it.
Preparing to Care | Agency for Integrated Care Singapore