Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Public Suggestion to the Singapore Government: Use technology to enhance the lives of caregivers by setting up a Central Caregivers’ Database to provide support for caregivers
Reference the above matter.  I am providing a constructive workable solution to the problems of growing aged caregivers – and I hope the Singapore Government will be able to implement it soon.
Thank you.
Raymond Anthony Fernando
I read with much interest the report in The Straits Times yesterday, 12th September 2017 – “Old and frail, and taking care of an elderly loved one.”
Being a dedicated caregiver to a loved one is a noble and rewarding task that requires immense sacrifice and commitment, but it often takes a heavy toll on their physical as well as mental health. I know this feeling only too well as I used to be a caregiver to my late wife for 40 years.
With Singapore’s fast ageing population, I am not at all surprised that a large proportion of these unsung heroes are over the age of 55. These caregivers who provide round-the-clock personalized dedicated service to their care recipients struggle everyday with enormous obstacles that includes financial cost in spent-down savings due to being retired or unemployed and having to pay for their own medical treatment as self-care is often neglected.
Hiring a maid these days is not a viable option as they are far too expensive.
There is a dire need to reach out to these caregivers, some of whom, as rightly pointed out by AWWA’s assistant director Ms Anita Ho, may not know where to receive help or want the much-need assistance.
Given that Singapore is moving to become a smart nation, we can use technology to enhance the lives of our tireless caregivers. To this end, all that is needed to be done is to set up a central caregivers’ database which can be managed by an appointed government agency.
When the caregiver goes for his/her medical appointment for their chronic illnesses, the treating doctor with the assistance of a case manager submits the caregiver particulars to the appointed government agency. With this central database, any kind of support – whether it is financial assistance, recreational activities or befriending services can be rendered easily.  
This database can be linked or interfaced to the Peoples Association so that the respective grassroots advisers from the community clubs can be in touch with caregivers in their constituency.   Caregivers who require support should also be able to submit their names to the community clubs where they reside so that their details can be submitted to the central caregivers’ database.
Organisations that are willing to offer any kind of support can be allowed, with approval from the appointed government agency, to access the database through a password.
When this system is well managed and fully operational, caregivers will be able to lead much better lives and they need not become super heroes.  The other benefit is that we can cut down on the workload of MOH and save costs.
Raymond Anthony Fernando

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