Skip to content


Dr Mary Ann Tsao, Professor Angelique Chan,


Distinguished speakers, practitioners, caregivers, ladies and gentlemen


A very good morning to all. It gives me great pleasure to join you here today at the Family Caregiver Symposium, “Empowering our Caregivers: from Research to Action”.


Current Caregiving Landscape


2.       As we know, Singapore is ageing rapidly. By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be 65 years and above. As our population ages, more seniors will need care, and more caregivers may need support. The caregiver’s journey is not easy as they wear many hats, from providing care support, to coordinating medical appointments and managing the household finances. With shrinking family sizes, the burden of caregiving will likely increase, and support for caregivers becomes increasingly important.


3.       Recognising this, the Government launched the Caregiver Support Action Plan in 2019. The plan outlines key initiatives in financial support, respite care, caregiver empowerment, workplace support and care navigation. It is continuously reviewed and enhanced to better support caregivers and their loved ones. Beyond policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and caregivers, are also key players to developing a more supportive caregiving landscape.


Family Caregiver Symposium


4.       I am heartened by the efforts of Tsao Foundation and the Centre for Ageing Research and Education, or “CARE”, at Duke-NUS, to organise this inaugural symposium that explores why some caregivers thrive despite challenges and how to amplify positive experiences for caregivers. Study findings from CARE have been translated into innovative interventions by Tsao Foundation, and more will be shared during the symposium.


5.       Identifying the key levers to positive caregiving outcomes will guide future care planning and the creation of an integrated ecosystem of support for caregivers and their loved ones. Let me share how such research can contribute to our policies and programmes.


Reframing caregiving positively


6.       Firstly, it is imperative to reframe caregiving and care relationships in a positive manner. Caregiving is a complex and daunting task in which one may feel unprepared or ill-equipped for. However, with time, experience and strong support systems, caregiving can be rewarding for both care recipients and caregivers. This is evident from the Caregiving Transitions among Family Caregivers of Elderly Singaporeans (TraCE) study, where we observed that caregiving burden and benefits are not mutually exclusive.


7.       In 2023, the Agency for Integrated Care launched the ‘We See You Care’ campaign to raise awareness of what it means to be a caregiver, and the support available to caregivers. It also affirmed the positive impact that caregivers make, and positive experience that they can have. To better support and empower caregivers, bite-sized online caregiving resources, like the Care Services Recommender on SupportGoWhere, have also been rolled out. Efforts like this go a long way in shifting current negative societal mindsets about caregiving.


Refining services and schemes to meet changing needs


8.       Secondly, services and schemes should be continually finetuned, to meet the changing needs of caregivers and their loved ones. Beyond policy considerations, ground feedback and relevant research findings are critical to this process. For instance, under the 2023 Action Plan for Successful Ageing, the Government is ramping up the CREST-Post-Diagnostic Support service in response to caregivers’ feedback from public engagement. This service links families to resources and equips caregivers for persons with dementia with coping strategies right from the point of diagnosis. When enhancing the Home Caregiving Grant in 2023, the Government also factored in caregivers’ feedback on significant caregiving costs despite various financial support available. 


9.       I hope that this symposium can build on past collaborations, to bridge the gap between research and developing practical interventions for caregivers. One example is the evidence-based interventions being trialled at Tsao Foundation. This involves clinical staff from different community eldercare programmes collaborating to support caregivers holistically, promoting a more positive caregiving experience.


Prioritisation of efforts


10.      Lastly, we need to prioritise and focus research efforts to address key gaps, amidst various challenges identified and limited resources available. One key area is to understand the evolution of caregiving trends and challenges with changing demographics. Caregiver outcomes tracking will also help us identify and develop targeted supportive efforts in areas caregivers fall behind extensively.


11.      Given seniors’ preference to age-in-place, research in caregiver respite and caregiver empowerment could also guide efforts to help caregivers cope with the increasing care burden. Existing initiatives like home and day care services and Caregiver Support Networks can be enhanced, and new initiatives can be developed. This ensures that the Government policies remain relevant to and align with caregivers’ needs that may change over time.




12.      Once again, I wish to thank Tsao Foundation and the Centre for Ageing Research and Education at Duke-NUS Medical School, for fo-cusing on the needs and wellbeing of our caregivers. It is my hope that we might shift the caregiving experience into a positive and in-clusive one. I wish all participants a fruitful and rewarding session ahead. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *