Jul 29, 2013

    Eldercare skills will aid the young

    It will become increasingly important for working adults to be better informed on caring for elderly members of the family, as the number of seniors aged 65 and above is expected to triple by 2030.

    My Paper caught up with Mr Kelvin Lim, chief of the Social Care Division at the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), on eldercare issues that young caregivers need to look out for.

    What are the most common medical problems seniors suffer from that young caregivers can help with?

    The most common medical problems are chronic conditions, including hypertension, diabetes and high blood pressure.

    As the younger generation is more resourceful and Internet savvy, they know how to access online resources and information on these medical conditions, and learn how to manage them.

    They are also a potential source of emotional and psychological support for the elderly.

    The time they spend with their elderly loved ones can contribute to the seniors' overall well-being.

    How can information about eldercare benefit young caregivers in the future?

    All caregivers will age. When that happens, the knowledge and experience they gained from caregiving will put them in a better position to care for themselves, live independently and age in dignity.

    For instance, their knowledge of chronic diseases will help them take early steps to reduce their own risk factors.

    Caregivers will also be better informed to make early decisions and plan for the social care and health care they want for themselves.

    How can young executives balance their work, social life and taking care of seniors?

    They should identify their priorities and allocate time and resources accordingly.

    Where possible, they should work out how to share the caregiving responsibility with other family members, and consider alternative care options and services to support their caregiving roles.

    How can young caregivers avoid getting burnt out?

    Read up on what they can expect as caregivers, what the caregiving journey entails, and, more importantly, the type of eldercare services and caregivers' support available.

    They should analyse the situations they are in and identify caregiving priorities to better prioritise their time vis-a-vis their other commitments.

    They should look after their personal well-being as well. For instance, if they feel the onset of exhaustion, they should quickly turn to other family members for help to care for the elderly.

    AIC's Singapore Silver Pages eldercare-resource site has been enhanced. What should caregivers look out for on the site?

    Young caregivers can expect more health and social information, and resources for seniors and caregivers on the improved site ( that was launched yesterday.

    We also introduced a segment on financial planning to complement a self-assessment tool. This section gives an overview of the cost for various care options, to enable caregivers and family members to plan and budget.

    There are new resources that aim to promote caregivers' and seniors' well-being, such as useful tips on fitness, healthy eating and mental wellness.