I applaud the efforts of the Association of Women for Action and Research in wanting to advocate more for foreign domestic workers (FDWs), especially those caring for our seniors.
I agree there is often a mismatch between caregiving needs and the competencies of caregivers (Domestic workers caring for the elderly overworked, lack support in Singapore: Report, ST Online, Nov 11).
Professionalisation is certainly important, but I think society's mindset needs to shift as well. People cannot expect FDWs who were originally engaged to help with domestic work to also double as caregivers.
No amount of training can turn them into these superhumans that we ourselves are not.
It is time we looked at the proper placement of trained caregivers.
Agencies that can provide live-in caregiver services should be properly accredited and work through the Agency for Integrated Care referral system to ensure proper matching of needs and skills.
But caregiving is not just physical labour that caregivers perform; it is also an emotional journey.
When caregivers, whether family or paid, suffer abuse and emotional hurt, it is love and trust that will keep the family together. We need to do more to help families develop closer inter-generational bonds.
Tristan Gwee Chen Teck