Caregivers have new place at NUH for support

Volunteers from the Caregiving Welfare Association working with crafts at the new Caregivers Sanctuary located at the National University Hospital on Nov 21, 2017.
Volunteers from the Caregiving Welfare Association working with crafts at the new Caregivers Sanctuary located at the National University Hospital on Nov 21, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Caregiver Phang Jin Guat at the new Caregivers Sanctuary in National University Hospital on Nov 21, 2017.
Caregiver Phang Jin Guat at the new Caregivers Sanctuary in National University Hospital on Nov 21, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Ms Tan Kim Eng (right), 75, and Ms Betty Tan, 67, volunteers with the Caregiving Welfare Association, making local crafts at the new Caregivers Sanctuary in the National University Hospital on Nov 21, 2017.
Ms Tan Kim Eng (right), 75, and Ms Betty Tan, 67, volunteers with the Caregiving Welfare Association, making local crafts at the new Caregivers Sanctuary in the National University Hospital on Nov 21, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Caregivers have a new place to get support and therapeutic help for their concerns and troubles.

The Caregivers' Sanctuary, which opened on Tuesday (Nov 21) at the NUH Medical Centre, will give respite to those caring for loved ones at the National University Hospital in Kent Ridge. Other caregivers and the elderly can also visit the centre, started by the Caregiving Welfare Association (CWA) and National University Health System.

Services and activities include a support group, counselling services, social engagement activities, art and craft therapeutic sessions and home personal care.

It costs $20 to join the support group and $60 for an hour of counselling.

Ms Phang Jin Guat is someone who has benefited from joining the CWA support group in Ghim Moh, where CWA has a non-profit volunteering centre.

She was devastated when her mother died two years ago, followed soon after by her younger sister. Ms Phang, 65, was her mother's caregiver and is now caring for her nephew.

"I was really tired and depressed after what happened. The CWA support group helped me so much, they comforted me and they knew how to support me. No one understands my position like they do."

A volunteer who helps with the art and craft workshops at the new centre, Ms Betty Tan, 67, said that the sanctuary's success will depend on the kind of programmes it has. "I enjoy the arts and crafts and when I come - the company feels like family."

The home personal care service will assess cases from NUH to see if CWA carers are needed to go to caregivers' homes to ease their workload.

"It is important because some caregivers are unable to leave their patients' side to do other work. It is a reward to see the caregivers relieved," said Mr Cheok Chin Hee, a home personal care assistant at CWA.