More support needed for family caregivers

With the dramatic ageing of the population, families will be relied upon more to provide care for their ageing parents, relatives and friends ("Build up capacity to train maids in eldercare" by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training; Oct 24).

Supporting family caregivers is one of the most cost-effective long-term care investments that the Government can make.

As long as family caregivers are able to provide care, costly nursing-home placements can be avoided and reliance on social programmes reduced.

This results in significant savings for the Government, healthcare institutions and other agencies responsible for delivering care.

Currently, family caregivers are given grants only for training.

More direct assistance, perhaps in the form of subsidies, could be given to these caregivers. Some other form of compensation could also be given to family caregivers, especially those who leave the workforce to provide family care.

Perhaps such compensation could come in the form of some funds that these family caregivers could tap in their own old age.

We have to support family caregivers by providing some minimal compensation for the indispensable care they provide.

Koh Yoke Wah (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2016, with the headline 'More support needed for family caregivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe