Singapore is experiencing an ageing phenomenon as the growth in population is slowing down. According to estimates, 1 in 5 Singaporeans will be aged 65 or more by 2030. This trend is also responsible for structural changes in support and healthcare needs for senior citizens who are now, more than ever, enjoying increased life expectancy.
Care options in Singapore are multiple – ranging from community care, nursing care to home care. The past years have seen a constant increase in the number of so-called ‘sandwiched’ families – typically comprising a couple caring for both parents and children – who opt for hiring help to support them care for ageing parents. The idea behind is to provide on-going social and healthcare support at home to reduce the risks of exclusion and enable seniors to age in the comfort of their homes while being surrounded by loved ones.
As Singapore is facing a critical demographic challenge, a series of measures are being implemented to tackle the issue. Last November, the Health Ministry launched the pilot of the Eldercarer Programme aimed at ensuring that helpers are well-trained – through specific training and learning – to care for the elderly. The rationale behind is that better-trained helpers – and generally all caregivers – are key to guaranteeing enhanced quality of care for beneficiaries. Caregivers equipped with the right skills – such as the ability to communicate with seniors, bring emotional support, provide first aid and prevent falls – and knowledge about the ageing process are usually more confident and more likely to handle in a more efficient way emergency situations where nothing should be left to improvisation.
Several organisations have specialized in providing courses and trainings to equip caregivers with the adequate skillset and knowledge. SG Caregiver (https://www.sgcaregiver.org) is a social enterprise offering a Caregiving Course focused on the elderly and disability. Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) runs a classroom learning as well as on-the-job training for helpers (visit www.aic.sg for more information). The Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) recently launched a training course (visit www.fast.org.sg for additional information) conducted by Care Advisors Recruitment Enterprise (Care) also aimed at equipping helpers with the skills and knowledge to navigate through the specificities of elderly care and support.