Mother of quadriplegic says CareShield Life payout will be a great help

Madam Seetharam Punithavathi has been worrying about what will happen to her son, Mr Vignesswaran Anbalagan, when she and her husband are no longer around. The CareShield Life payout will come in handy for him in the future, she says. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
CareShield Life will be launched in October this year. PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR

SINGAPORE - Madam Seetharam Punithavathi, 69, gave up her civil service job to care for her son, who was born a quadriplegic 39 years ago.

Mr Vignesswaran Anbalagan uses a wheelchair, and needs help bathing and when he goes to the toilet.

In fact, the only activities of daily living, of which there are six, that he can manage on his own are transferring himself from bed to wheelchair and back, and eating.

Madam Punithavathi worries about what will happen when she and her 69-year-old husband, who is retired, are no longer around.

Mr Anbalagan has two younger sisters, but both are married with families of their own.

With the launch of CareShield Life in October this year, he will be assured of getting $600 a month for the rest of his life.

He can start collecting the payout under the national long-term care insurance once he has made the first premium payment. It covers all residents born on or after 1980.

Madam Punithavathi said she is very grateful for this.

The family has no financial problems now, so she plans to save the money for his use when she and her husband are no longer around to care for him.

She spends about $100 a month on diapers for him.

"Luckily he is small (in) size, so he can use children's diapers, which are expensive, but cheaper than adult ones," she said.

For the past year and a half, Mr Anbalagan has been going to a daycare centre for people with multiple disabilities in Jurong West from 8.30am to 4.15pm every weekday. It is highly subsidised and Madam Punithavathi pays only $40 a month.

Spending time at the daycare centre gives her son a chance to interact with staff and other people with disabilities. At home, he gets bored, with only the television and his laptop for company, his mother said.

"He can be mischievous and he enjoys chatting with the people, especially the ladies, at the daycare," she said.

She added that although his legs are too weak to support him, he gets to strengthen his arms at the centre by doing exercises.

She said: "His speech slurs a bit when he gets excited, but otherwise he's a normal person, except he cannot manage on his own."

He is not on any medication, she added.

A medical social worker had asked her if she wanted her son to receive the CareShield Life payout.

"If he is entitled to it, we will never say no," Madam Punithavathi said. "It will be very useful for him in future.

"When we are around, we can somehow manage to look after him. When we are no longer here, he will need the money. Maybe he can get a helper. The regular payout will give him confidence."


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