New report gives tips on home-based care for seniors

When 84-year-old Mr Tan (not his real name), who has dementia, could no longer be cared for at a senior care centre, his children came together to discuss options for their father's care.

Sharing the responsibility of caregiving between the primary caregiver and family, and establishing new aspects of longstanding relationships - such as taking turns to run errands for the elderly - were suggestions presented in a new report, Good Care At Home, produced by the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's Centre for Biomedical Ethics.

It details recommendations on how to give the best care to seniors at home, from both the social and ethical perspectives, and aims to provide ethical standards when providing such care.

"Many people who give care to older adults are not professionals. Most are family members, domestic workers, neighbours and community volunteers. While there are limits to holding them to professional performance standards, the report discusses appropriate standards that can be taken," said Associate Professor Jacqueline Chin, one of the report's authors.

Other suggestions include continuing to support the personal choices of seniors without compromising their safety. This often involves managing the risks for a senior living independently.

For instance, limiting a senior's movement at home to prevent falls could also curb their independence in other ways. In some circumstances, it may be more convenient and affordable to modify the flats of seniors to increase their safety and independence, the report noted.

The report, which was funded by the Lien Foundation, drew on interviews and workshops with more than 170 healthcare and social workers over three years, from 2015 to last year.

 

In some circumstances, it may be more convenient and affordable to modify the flats of seniors to increase their safety and independence.

It is a follow-up of the centre's earlier publication - "Caring for Older People in an Ageing Society" - that discussed issues faced by those who care for the elderly. The report can be downloaded at http://cbme.nus.edu.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2018, with the headline 'New report gives tips on home-based care for seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe