Caregiving can be a rewarding experience as it offers opportunities to strengthen the relationship and connect with your loved ones.
“Caring and communication are inseparably linked. You cannot hope to communicate effectively if you do not care about the person on the receiving end.” – P. Morrison & P. Bernard, 1997, authors of "Caring and Communicating: The Interpersonal Relationship in Nursing"
Communicating effectively promotes your relationship and reduces misunderstanding, conflict and stress. Your loved one may find it challenging to make themselves understood, or understand what others are saying, because their senses dull over time. Changes in vision and hearing, and slowing of reaction time may impede communication. Slurred speech and memory loss due to illness or side effects from medication may also affect their ability to speak and respond clearly.
As caregivers, you can help by giving them eye contact, to show they have your attention. Listening patiently and actively by giving brief responses such as “I see” and “okay”, lets your loved one know you understand their concern. When conversing with your loved one, use simple words and short sentences, with an appropriate speed and tone of talking. Avoid using words that might be patronising or disrespectful. You can also validate their needs by asking them to do something, instead of ordering them.
Activities are a great way to engage your loved one. Consider their preferences and ability when suggesting activities for them to participate in. Having the ability to exercise a choice gives your loved one a sense of confidence. This will in turn increase their willingness to participate in the activities.
At home, simple activities like getting dresses, having a conversation, singing, or reading, can maintain their motor and cognitive skills. Taking part in outdoor recreational activities together can also build social connections, and may fulfil their emotional needs. Participating in regular physical activity may help you and your loved one to improve body balance, posture and flexibility, have better control of chronic disease symptoms, prevent falls and improve the overall well-being. Start off with some light exercises with your loved one at home like stretching.
Caregiving requires spending quality time with your loved one. It is not just about providing for their physical needs. Planning for a day out for the senior in wheelchair is not difficult.
A visit to
family-friendly parks. Rediscover Singapore
using your vouchers or check out
inclusive places for loved ones with disabilities.
Enjoy some shopping in the city, or in the heartlands.
Get in touch with nature at the
Marvel at Singapore’s photo-worthy attractions at Changi Airport or Gardens by the Bay.
Be serenaded with a concert or show, at one of the performing arts centres in Singapore.
Take a walk down history with friends and family at
Explore the future and be fascinated by new technologies at the
Science Centre Singapore,
Singapore Discovery Centre, or
Some simple tips for a successful day out include packing an umbrella, carrying refreshments and medication, a cushion for comfort, and a backup ride (such as taxi or car services).
Going about in a wheelchair or walking aid may attract some attention to your loved one along the trip. If your loved one feels uncomfortable, spend a moment to talk about his/her feelings.
If your loved one is bedbound, there are activities you can do with them to stimulate their motor skills, elevate their mood, decrease anxiety, and give them a chance to interact.
Here are some activities that you can consider:
Body massage and passive exercises. Check with your loved one’s physiotherapist on the suitable level of physical activity.
Playing some music or movies. Keep your loved ones
connected through music.
Read from a book, magazine or newspaper.
Listening to an audiobook, such as those by the National Library Board’s
Reminisce with photos, classic music, and old shows.
Personal grooming such as combing hair, trimming nails, and moisturising skin.
For person with advanced dementia, Namaste Care is a multi-sensory stimulation care approach to engage with the person.
Get a conversation going with these cards by the
Singapore Hospice Council.
If your loved one has dementia, you can find additional resources that can
suit your needs here.
If your loved ones are seniors who are well and living in their own homes, or those requiring assistance at Community Care facilities (e.g. Nursing Homes, Centres),
click here to find an array of resources under the AIC Wellness Programme.
The AIC Wellness Programme engages seniors through provision of meaningful activities to enhance their wellbeing and quality of life. For more information, email
Here are more tips to better care for your loved one.
Ideas to make your home more senior-friendly
Assistive devices to help your loved one perform daily activities
How to set up and manage a care routine