Schemes to help caregivers stay in workforce needed

Over the years, the number of services available to the elderly in Singapore has increased tremendously. These are readily available to both the elderly and their caregivers.

But do these services really help caregivers lighten their burdens?

My husband and I are the caregivers for our three elderly parents, all of whom suffer from multiple chronic conditions.

Earlier this year, I was forced to quit my job as a nurse to care for them.

It was a tough decision.

Having a stable job and income are crucial for caregivers. Without a stable source of income, caregivers are saddled with even more concerns as they struggle to manage daily expenses, medical bills and transport fares.

Financial constraints are often among the biggest obstacles caregivers face.

This means that senior and nursing home services may be readily available but caregivers may not be able to afford them (even with government subsidy).

The problems of caregivers do not end there. At work, much of their leave entitlement is used up for caregiving duties.

Eventually, many caregivers end up leaving their job, as I did, because we are unable to juggle the demands of work and caregiving.

It is important for policymakers to look into new schemes to better support and encourage caregivers to remain in the workforce while at the same time continue to care for our loved ones.

Lee May May (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2018, with the headline 'Schemes to help caregivers stay in workforce needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe