Wide range of caregiver support services available

We thank Mr Dave Phua Peng Hwee for his feedback ("Look into wider provision of respite care services"; last Thursday), and we are heartened that he and his family found the respite care service at Man Fut Tong Nursing Home beneficial.

Respite care is part of the efforts by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to enhance home and community-based services to support families in caring for our seniors at home.

This is in line with our goal to enable our seniors to age in place, so that they can be close to their loved ones and in familiar environments.

We agree with Mr Phua that more can be done to educate the public about respite care services.

Currently, respite care services are available at 10 senior care centres (SCC) and 17 nursing homes across Singapore.

Besides providing daycare services on weekdays, these SCCs also offer respite care on weekends.

Families can entrust their senior loved ones to SCCs for a few hours to attend to work exigencies, run errands or simply to take a short break from caregiving.

If longer respite is required, families can consider the Nursing Home Respite Care service, as was the case for Mr Phua.

The nursing home will provide care for a minimum period of seven days to a maximum period of 30 days per year.

Seniors who opt for this service generally have higher care needs. For example, they may need nursing care and/or are wheelchair- or bed-bound due to conditions like a stroke.

Families can also consider the Eldersitter programme, which provides respite for caregivers of people living with dementia.

Eldersitters will engage the elderly in meaningful activities to stimulate their minds and provide companionship.

Eligible seniors can enjoy government subsidies for the respite care services.

More importantly, the services enable families to have peace of mind as they attend to other matters, or to take a much-needed break and recharge.

We appreciate Community Care service providers who offer respite care services, which have been welcomed by families like Mr Phua's.

Members of the public can call the Singapore Silver Line on 1800-650-6060 or visit our AICare Links for more information on the respite care services.

To find an AICare Link near you, visit www.silverpages.sg

Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health

Andy Seet
Director, Corporate and Marketing Communications
Agency for Integrated Care

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2015, with the headline 'Wide range of caregiver support services available'. Print Edition | Subscribe