Monday, May 6, 2013

Honour family caregivers through awards- Raymond A Fernando's letter to the press

My letter on the above matter was published in the online section of The Straits Times on Monday 6th May 2013.

Congratulations to the 54 health-care professionals who received the prestigious Healthcare Humanity Awards (“Health-care awards reunite old colleagues”; last Wednesday).

I am confident that such recognition will inspire other health-care workers to give back to society.

Besides these workers, there is another group of selfless people who demonstrate unconditional love. These are the family caregivers – the unsung heroes who serve as an inspiration to those whose lives they touch (“Don’t overlook caregivers’ well-being” by Ms Ada Chan Siew Foen; April 27).

Caring for family members who suffer from chronic illnesses or have special needs is not easy. It is a taxing task that calls for much personal sacrifice. It may also cause psychological strain, for instance, when a loved one’s illness suddenly takes a turn for the worse.

At the Ain Society’s charity dinner on April 27, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said Singapore should try to improve its system of meritocracy to ensure that it continues to benefit society, and this means showing compassion even while meritocracy is at work.

He rightly pointed out that “a compassionate meritocracy can help us build a resilient and inclusive society” while “a selfish meritocracy will divide us and ruin our society”.

We need to appreciate people in Singapore who do not always look out for economic gain, but the emotional “gains” of others. Family caregivers are such people. Yet, even though they give so much of themselves, often sacrificing their own health and social needs, their efforts have gone unrecognised for decades.

I urge the Government to recognise the dedication and commitment of family caregivers through Humanity Awards, and send the signal that caregiving is a noble job.
If we are to raise the standard of caregiving in Singapore to better cope with the rapidly ageing population, there must be more appreciation for family caregivers on a national level.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

No comments: