What Is Caregiving?
Caregiving can be a fulfilling and meaningful journey. You can be prepared for this journey to care for your loved one and most importantly, care for yourself.
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.
Your caregiving role may start upon your loved one’s diagnosis of a medical condition, or after an incident such as a fall or a heart attack.
Role of a Caregiver
As someone who is taking care of your loved one, you may provide support to the person’s day-to-day activities, medical needs, emotional needs and may need to make key decisions on behalf. The degree of involvement may vary according to the needs of your loved one. The needs can be broadly categorised below:
|Needs||Caregiver activities or tasks|
|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 managing finances for his/her future.|
|Future Needs||Starting 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. Find out more on Advanced Planning & Legal Tools.|
Preparing for the Caregiving Journey
You can be prepared for the caregiving journey by understanding your loved one’s condition, treatment, management and progression. 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 preferences 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.
Learning Guidebook for Caregivers
You will require different skills and knowledge at various stages of your caregiving journey. This Learning Guidebook for Caregivers highlights the essential skills you will require and guides you to relevant caregiver training courses to pick up these skills to care for your loved ones confidently at home.
This guidebook is split into two parts: one about taking care of older family members and the other about taking care of people with disabilities.
- Know Your Meds Series by Ministry of Health: Get to know the basic skills to managing medication for yourself and your loved ones
- A Beginner’s Guide to Caregiving: 5 Things You Need to Know
- Learn more on how to get family support and hold a family meeting
- AWWA’s Caregivers Handbook: Available in English and Chinese
- Future Planning: Consider your loved one’s care preferences and include him/her in the decision-making
- Be a Caregiver Mentor: If you are a seasoned caregiver caring for a loved one with disability, you can share your knowledge and skills to new caregivers.
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