Exploring the sources of support for caregivers in Singapore
Ko, Moses Yong Sheng
Date of Issue2017
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine)
It is during the two ends of the age spectrum that care requirements are at its greatest. Though the elderly form the largest proportion of care-recipients, children – particularly those with special health care needs – also demand significant attention. Despite considerable personal and communal benefits, the negative consequences of caregiving are well-documented, hence support is necessary and has been shown to mediate the repercussions. This paper utilised data from mixed methods, involving three focused group discussions and one survey, administered to caregivers at local agency to explore the sources of support for caregivers in Singapore The survey found that participants were predominantly female with a mean age of 49 years. All had familial relations to their care-recipient, consistent with the notion of a family unit. Caregivers’ sources of support were classified into formal and informal networks. Formal networks involved medical professionals, workshops, caregiver support groups and foreign domestic workers. Despite favourable ratings in relevance, trustworthiness and comprehensiveness, they were less convenient as sources of information as compared to informal networks. Challenges raised during focused group discussions included affordability and accessibility. Nonetheless, caregiver support groups were frequently turned to for informational and emotional support. Informal networks comprised of family, friends, online and digital communication platforms. Convenience makes them frequently utilised sources, due to accessibility and significant smartphone ownership in Singapore. Current national policy continually attempts to maximise the formal network of support, cognisant that the demands for caregiving will concomitantly increase, primarily due to the ageing population. Housing policy also makes physical accessibility within an extended family favourable. By harnessing the informal network, together with online and digital communication platforms which are increasing in breadth and popularity, support can be extended through information provision and emotional encouragement. Doing so not only improves the caregiving experience, but fundamentally translates into better care-recipient outcomes.
Final Year Project (FYP)