Caregiving is not for the faint hearted. More often than not, it is an emotionally exhausting journey filled with immense personal sacrifices. But for the approximately 200,000+ full-time caregivers in Singapore, many have taken on their responsibilities tirelessly, doing so with gumption out of love and duty.
In recognition of this unseen labour, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) has launched the ‘We See You Care’ campaign to bring our attention to caregivers. According to Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam, this campaign aims to raise awareness of what it means to be a caregiver and highlight the support available to them.
Speaking up for an invisible workforce
Today, Singapore faces the double whammy of an ageing population and shrinking family sizes. As a result, our caregiving needs have evolved in complexity, especially for the ‘sandwich’ generation who have to care for their children and elderly parents.
Such changes are not lost on the PAP. Listening to the fears and anxieties of Singaporeans, the need to provide caregivers with more support has gained traction in recent years.
For that reason, our MPs have frequently raised the subject during Parliament. In this year’s Budget debate, MP Ms Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC) urged the Ministry to scale up community-based caregiving solutions. Meanwhile, MP Ms Rachel Ong (West Coast GRC) proposed giving caregivers a monthly allowance inclusive of CPF contributions to help them build a retirement safety net.
Furthermore, as individuals who walk the talk, our MPs have also been fighting for change at the ground level. MP Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang SMC), aware of the high number of seniors in his constituency, has pushed for more eldercare facilities so that seniors can age in place.
Over in Bukit Batok, MP Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok SMC) has often shown his support for Caregivers Alliance, a non-profit that runs training programmes for caregivers. Ever the enthusiast, he even took on the challenge to run a hundred kilometres to help raise funds for the organisation.
Supporting our caregivers is a national priority
Whether it be childcare or eldercare, every one of us might end up caring for someone or become the one who needs care for ourselves. In short, caregiving affects all of us.
That is why at the national level, our caregiving ecosystem has grown in size. Following the Caregiver Support Action Plan in 2019, there is now a comprehensive suite of resources within a one-stop portal by AIC to support caregivers every step of the way.
More significantly, the financial burden of caregiving is being tackled head-on with a doubling of the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) and the option to use Medisave to pay for basic palliative care.
In addition, there are plans to introduce a new set of Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements by 2024. Hopefully, that will make it easier for caregivers to balance care duties with their career aspirations.
Our caregivers are the backbone of our health and social care. As we strive to become a more caring society, let us continue to support and give them the recognition they deserve. After all, as a nation, we see you care.
Photo Source: Yip Hon Weng/Carrie Tan/Murali Pillai via Facebook/ Rahayu Mahzam via LinkedIn/AIC