My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject is published today, Wednesday 13th December 2017.
I second the call by Professor Kalyani K Mehta for the Government to provide family caregivers with a caregiver allowance (Families under pressure in ageing society; Dec 9).
It is just not practical for caregivers to balance caregiving responsibilities with activities such as work, household chores and other family commitments.
Those who are employed will most likely experience interruptions at work, frequent leave of absence and reduced productivity, as caregiving takes up so much of their time. There are some caregivers who are taking care of more than one relative, and this can be extremely stressful. This is more so when their relative has mental health issues.
It is not uncommon for caregivers to fall into depression when they suffer burnout. Often, they neglect their own health to focus all their time, energy and care on their charges.
Almost all caregivers experience financial stress associated with providing care. In fact, lack of funding and financial support is one of the biggest pain points that many caregivers will attest to.
Given that caregiving is often a 24-hour task, many have little or no choice but to give up their jobs, and this places them in severe financial hardship.
To this end, it will help a great deal if the Government provides a monthly caregiver allowance to enable caregivers to cope better.
Caregiving should be viewed as a noble responsibility rather than a burden.
Raymond Anthony Fernando