Raymond Anthony Fernando’s letter on the above subject is published in The New Paper today, Wed 29 June 2011 on page 20.
I support the statement by Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Halimah Yacob about giving a day off every week(Give them a break, The New Paper on Sunday, June 26.)
It is encouraging that the Government is concerned about the welfare of foreigners who lend support to our households.
But what about the welfare of family members who are looking after their elderly or sick relatives? Don’t they need some form of respite?
The welfare of this group of caregivers have been forgotten and neglected, forcing many to send their relatives to nursing homes.
Caregiving is not an easy task, whether managed by professionals or by family members.
Unlike professional caregivers, dedicated family members who are willing to care for their stricken ones, do not have days off.
Caregivers in this group work 24/7 and 365 days a year, with many suffering burnout.
An increasing number of us will get old and suffer from a variety of chronic illnesses. We must make caregiving a part of our life, not to hide it or avoid it.
It is in our best interests to have a caregiving plan as we never know when we are going to be hit by caregiving needs.
The Government must work closely with caregivers and lend a helping hand.
Here are some suggestions for the Government to consider that will help raise the level of caregiving.
* Provide respite care for caregivers and make it possible for them and their stricken ones to go on a holiday once a year. I am confident that sponsors will come forward to support this idea.
* Set up a hotline for seniors.
* Publish a guidance directory and distribute it among family members who are caring for the elderly.
* Introduce a reward system that recognizes caregivers who have made huge sacrifices in taking care of their sick relatives.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO