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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.

​​​​​​​​​Role of a Caregiver

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 needsHelping your loved one in dressing up, toileting and conducting household tasks such as buying groceries and chores.
​Health and medical needsEnsuring your loved one is exercising, eating balanced meals, and taking medication in a timely manner.​
​Emotional and psycho-social needsProviding 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.​
​​​Future NeedsStarting early conversations on care needs​​ and arrangement with your loved ones should they lose mental capacity. This includes completing an Advance Care Plan and Lasting Power of Attorney.​​
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Financial Help Is Available

Besides visiting our Financial Assistance section to learn about financial support for seniors and caregivers, here are some additional areas of support.
​​Assistive Technology Fund (ATF)
​The Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) provides financial assistance to persons with disabilities in mainstream or special education or open employment to purchase assistive technology devices.
Car Park Label Scheme (CPLS) for Persons with Physical Disabilities ​​
​The Car Park Label Scheme (CPLS) allows persons with physical disabilities who drive their own vehicles, or who are ferried by their family members, to park at designated parking lots which are larger in size to allow them to get in and out of the vehicles with ease.
​Certificate of Entitlement (COE) Grant Scheme for Social Service Agencies (SSAs) 
​The Certificate of Entitlement (COE) Grant Scheme is a grant to support the cost of COE and Additional Registration Fee (ARF) for vehicles used to transport elderly or persons with disabilities who are unable to use public transport unassisted or other transport options.
Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) ​​
The Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) allows patients to use their Medisave to pay part of their outpatient treatment for 15 chronic conditions.​
ComCare Long-Term Assistance (aka Public Assistance)
ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance
ComCare Urgent Financial Assistance

​The ComCare Long-Term Assistance assists Singaporeans who need long-term financial assistance due to old age, illness or unfavourable family circumstances, and have no family members who can provide support. It also provides additional financial assistance for children. The ComCare Short-to-Medium -Term Assistance assists Singaporeans who need short-to-medium-term financial assistance due to job hunting, temporarily unable to work due to illness or caring for family members, and have little or no family members who can provide support. The ComCare Urgent Financial Assistance assists families who are going through a difficult period and require urgent and immediate assistance.
Enhanced Screen for Life (SFL)
SFL is a national screening programme for Singaporeans and Permanent Citizens to get subsidised health screening and follow up at low fixed fee. ​

Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) SchemeThe Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) Scheme provides comprehensive support to young, low-income families who choose to keep their family small so they can invest in their children's future.
​Public Transport Concession Scheme for Persons with Disabilities
This scheme provides a concession card that offers concessionary rates for persons with disabilities when they are travelling on public transport to enjoy a 25% discount off adult fares with no additional cost for distance travelled beyond 7.2km. There is also an option to purchase a Monthly Concession Pass with unlimited bus and train rides at $60 per month.​
​​Subsidies for Government-funded Intermediate Long- Term Care (ILTC) services 
​These subsidies offset the bills of people needing Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) care services for future care and treatment after discharge, and for elderly staying in the community who are frail and need supervision and assistance with activities of daily living.

​​Subsidies for Services and Drugs at Public Healthcare Institutions ​These subsidies offsets bills on services and drugs at public hospitals, specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics.
Taxi Subsidy Scheme
This scheme supports persons with disabilities who are able to travel only by taxi for school or work purposes. ​
​​​VWO Transport Subsidies​
​This scheme supports persons with disabilities who need to take dedicated transport provided by Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) to access school and care services. ​

Care Responsibilities

Your loved one can exercise and interact with other seniors while you are at work. Transportation can be arranged to and fro the centre, if needed.

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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