Health Ministry to strengthen support for caregivers to the elderly

Health Ministry to strengthen support for caregivers to the elderly

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An elderly man in Singapore (File Photo: Francine Lim)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Tuesday (Oct 23) that it is leading a review to see how it can better support caregivers to the elderly.

The ministry started consulting caregivers, service providers and various stakeholders in September to understand their needs. These focus group discussions will continue until December. 

"The review aims to identify opportunities to strengthen care navigation in the community, improve caregiver support services and ways to empower caregivers," said MOH in a media release. 

Caregivers play an increasingly important role as Singapore's population ages, said the ministry. 

It noted that by 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be over 65 years old. And as family sizes shrink, the caregiving burden will grow. 

"We want to ensure that those who need the assistance from caregivers get the assistance. But more importantly, we want the elderly to age in place and to do that, you must have a strong caregiver support system," said Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong on the sidelines of a community engagement event with caregivers. 

"I think there are some gaps so we want to review it, we want to see how we can strengthen it."

He added that while the government has taken steps over the past few years to build up the range and quality of eldercare services, it also wants to focus on providing "more direct and holistic support to caregivers".

This requires various stakeholders as well as the larger community, including employers and families to come together to co-create solutions with caregivers, said Mr Tong.

The review will complement other existing programmes and assistance for caregivers, including tax relief for caring for parents or handicapped family members, as well as grants to train caregivers.

Source: CNA/nh(gs)