We thank Dr Wayne Freeman Chong for his views (White Paper proposals could cover more ground on informal caregiving, April 6).
Caregivers are the cornerstones of our families and play an important role in enabling our seniors to age well in the community. As a society, we must recognise and support their efforts, with family members sharing caregiving responsibilities, and employers being understanding to those with caregiving commitments.
The Government has increased support for caregivers over the years.
In 2019, the Ministry of Health launched the Caregiver Support Action Plan to further support caregivers of seniors. This included caregiving respite services, workplace support, care navigation, financial support, and caregiver empowerment and training. Some examples where caregivers have benefited include the night respite pilot and dementia-friendly communities.
The White Paper for Singapore Women’s Development builds on these efforts to further recognise and empower caregivers, men and women alike. On financial support, our caregivers care for their loved ones out of love and not for hope of reward. However, we do recognise that more financial help can go some way in easing their caregiving journey.
This is why the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) will be enhanced from $200 per month to up to $400 per month for the lower-income to further reduce caregiving costs. Persons with dementia who need assistance to perform at least three activities of daily living can also qualify for the HCG.
The enhanced HCG is just one of many layers of financial support provided today to defray the cost of long-term care. Other support includes generous means-tested subsidies of up to 80 per cent for centre- and home-based eldercare services, grants, and payouts from national insurance schemes like CareShield Life and ElderShield.
The initiatives in the White Paper are also part of broader, ongoing efforts to enhance the ecosystem of care to support seniors’ aspirations to age in place at home.
Caregivers who need more support can reach out to the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) by calling 1800 650 6060, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting an AIC Link for in-person assistance.
Director, Aged Care Services
Ministry of Health