Foreign domestic workers here ill-equipped to care for frail elderly

Close to half of Singaporeans polled in a survey said they had turned to foreign domestic workers to provide care for their frail elderly relatives, yet more than half of these workers lack the experience or training to care for them. -- ST FILE PHOT
Close to half of Singaporeans polled in a survey said they had turned to foreign domestic workers to provide care for their frail elderly relatives, yet more than half of these workers lack the experience or training to care for them. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  TERENCE TAN

Close to half of the families polled in a survey said they had turned to foreign domestic workers to provide care for their frail elderly relatives, yet the survey also found that more than half of these workers lack the experience or training to care for them.

This was one of the key findings of a national survey that polled 1,190 pairs of elderly persons and their caregivers. The findings were released at the International Longevity Centre Singapore's Caregiving Conference on Wednesday.

The survey, done between 2009 and 2010, found that a more than half of the maids asked to act as caregivers have not received any formal training or did not have any prior experience in caring for the frail and elderly.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the survey also looked at what factors were responsible for causing stress or depressive symptoms among caregivers of the elderly. It found that caregivers who experienced higher caregiver stress and depression are likely to be juggling full-time jobs and their caregiver duties, of a younger age and lower socio-economic status, and lack a maid, among other factors.