SINGAPORE - In an effort to provide more support to a growing pool of caregivers in Singapore's ageing society, South West Community Development Council (CDC) on Saturday (Oct 26) launched a one-stop caregiving hotline.
Meant for residents of the South West District - which covers areas such as Telok Blangah, Jurong and Bukit Gombak - the 24-hour service is an avenue for caregivers to find out about matters like help schemes, respite services, financial assistance and subsidies.
The CDC had last year announced several initiatives to better support caregivers. It includes funding of $500 to help them pay for expenses like medical equipment and training in caregiving.
Residents can also be referred to the respective Social Service Agencies, or caregiving partners to provide them with relevant assistance, by calling the South West Caregiver Hotline on 6258-6683.
Previous media reports estimated that there are over 210,000 caregivers here, with some 70 per cent of them aged 40 and above.
Mayor of South West District Low Yen Ling, who launched the hotline at the Training and Research Academy at Jurong Point Shopping Centre, said: "Not only will the hotline answer inquiries related to caregiving needs, but more importantly, it will direct South West residents to caregiving services such as home help and respite care centres near their homes."
Minister for Social and Family Development and guest of honour at the launch Desmond Lee said that giving support to caregivers and care recipients is crucial.
"It is very timely for us to talk about and prepare for caregiving. We are an ageing society. More of us will need help and perhaps require care in our later years," he said.
"Some studies have estimated that around 30,000 Singaporeans aged 75 and above will have a caregiver. This is not a small number, and we can empathise with the demands and stresses that caregivers face."
On Saturday, South West CDC also launched the South West Freelance Caregivers scheme. It is a training and incentive scheme for caregivers who want to take up training and offer their caregiving services during their free time to other caregivers who may need respite.
This initiative is funded by Maybank Singapore and targets to benefit 50 caregivers for the first year.
In addition, caregiving information and resources will also be pooled together into a kit for care staff and caregiving partners, such as staff in nursing homes and social service agencies.
Said Mayor Low: "As our population ages, many of us would become caregivers, at one time or another. The risks of caregiving burnout is real, especially when families have become smaller and life spans have grown longer.
"By equipping and empowering caregivers, we are shoring up our first line of defence and support for the vulnerable and elderly."