Sense of duty prevents caregivers from getting help
Caregiving Welfare Association president Aw says a sense of duty stops caregivers from asking for help
In caring for their sick and elderly loved ones, many Singaporeans face untold pressures and challenges daily.
While they desperately need financial and counselling support, they do not ask for help because they feel it's their duty to care for family members and do not consider themselves caregivers.
If this mindset does not change, they will eventually suffer burnout, said Caregiving Welfare Association (CWA) president Kelvin Aw.
He told The New Paper that Singaporeans tend to associate the terms "caregiving" and "caregivers" with domestic helpers.
Mr Aw, 46, added that many caregivers do not seek help because of the Asian culture of filial piety.
To tackle the issue, CWA has organised Caregivers' Week, which starts today, to increase public awareness on caregiving with roadshows and activities islandwide.
On Nov 21, CWA will launch the first caregiver sanctuary in Singapore at One@KentRidge, where support groups, counselling, case management and therapeutic activities will be available. In the National Health Survey (NHS) 2010, 221,300 Singapore residents aged between 18 and 69 were caregivers for friends or family members.
Madam Chua Hwang Kia, 73, who is among the 300 active members of CWA, is the primary caregiver for her youngest son, Mr Nee Lye Huat, 52, a stroke victim.
Madam Chua, who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arthritis, often cries in frustration and struggles to communicate with her son, who can no longer speak.
She also faces financial difficulties as her son uses adult diapers and drinks milk from a feeding tube. These cost her $300 a month.
She is grateful to CWA, which manages her case, counsels her and helps her apply for medical subsidies.
"Without the CWA, I wouldn't have been able to come so far on my caregiving journey," said Madam Chua.