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1 Intergenerational Caregiving: …. More Room for the Carers Please…

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Presentation on theme: "1 Intergenerational Caregiving: …. More Room for the Carers Please…"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Intergenerational Caregiving: …. More Room for the Carers Please…

2 Sharing On being a carer Intergenerational caregiving My wish list as a Carer 2

3 A personal story Upon returning… Something’s not quite right about Mom… She has got dementia… I became a (midlife) Carer… I sometimes deny and resist the role of a carer. On hindsight … 3

4 Who is a carer? unpaid “Someone who gives unpaid care to a family member, relative, or friend who is dependent because of age, physical or other disability, illness and who would, if cared for, require support from the state or by some other means.”  (British Medical Association 1995, p.3, cited in NCSS 2004, p.4)  "[s]omeone whose life is in some way restricted… (Carers UK) 4

5 I think I am a Carer … 1.Remember you're a carer!  Do I want to be a carer? 2.Include your family and friends  What would they say about caregiving?  The ‘chosen one’ 3.Tell your GP  I am quite transparent to the healthcare system. 4.Tell Social Services  Tell what? Am suppose to be self-sufficient  Resort to only when in crisis proportions ! 5 [Adapted from Carers UK's guide to the first ten steps to getting support.]

6 5.Tell people at work  Do I get leave entitlement for looking after ageing parent?  I was told by government I have to work this out with BOSS. 6.Claim my entitlements  ?? 7.Find my nearest carers group or centre.  Who are they and do I want to bear my chest to them? 6

7 8.Look after myself  I am told I run the risk of (1 in 5 carers):  back problems, heart disease or mental breakdown, go without a break, without proper sleep … 9.Think about the future  When caring ends it can be extremely hard. By facing the future and thinking about life after caring you can minimise the shock when the time comes. 10.Support Carers Agencies  I think most of the carers programmes help me to be a better carer …? 7

8 8 Comparison between SG & UK population and ageing experience Population & Older PeopleSingaporeUK Racial & ethnic compositionMulticulturalMainly White, increasingly multicultural Ageing populationDouble in 24 yrs (2030) 17%Double in 50 yrs (2050) 19% Fastest growing group≥85 yrs Life expectancyMale 79 yrs, females 83.1 yrs (2010) Male 78 yrs, females 82 yrs (2010) Median age of population37.4 yrs39 yrs Total Fertility Rate1.16children (2010)1.96 (2009, for England & Wales) Independence of older peopleGenerally independent except 85 yrs over Generally independent except those 75 yrs over Co-residence with familyTend to co-reside with married or unmarried children Tend to live with spouse/ cohabit or live alone InstitutionalisationLimited & last resort Mainly cared home institutionalisation (move towards ageing in place)

9 9 Characteristics of SG & UK informal carers CharacteristicsSingaporeUK Co-resident/ extra resident carers Spouses and children/children-in-law tend to offer co-resident care Spouses/cohabitees (co- resident care), Children/children in law (co/extra resident care) GenderWomen carers (esply ≥75), males Potential carers, Most physical aspects of caring is done by women Women main carers Males co-resident to parents/ parents-in-law AgeAged yrsAged yrs Extent of caregivingLimited information Recent research interests and efforts Co-resident caregivers (tend to provide intense caregiving) Impact of caregiving on health Little impactMental stresses, physical injuries, social needs, etc. Extent of research on informal carers Begun in 1995 (National Survey of Senior Citizens) but confined to older adults. Recent efforts at researching carers’ background and needs. Begun since1980s – data on informal carers collected Govt., carers’ agenceis, universities

10 10 Ten facts about caring (Carers UK) million people (1 in 10 adults are carers) Carers: 58% women, 42% are men ≥ 3 million people juggle care with work (1 in 8) Carers retire 8 years earlier (Average) Every year over 2 million people become carers By million carers Carers UK: the voice of carers, Ten facts about caring, [Online], Available from: [9-March-2011].

11 11 Ten facts about caring (Carers UK) million people provide over 50 hours of care per week (20%) People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled. ≥ 1 million people care for > one person The main carer’s benefit is £45 for a minimum of 35 hours, equivalent to £1.26 per hour. Carers save the economy £67- £ 87 billion per year. Carers save the economy £67- £ 87 billion per year. Carers UK: the voice of carers, Ten facts about caring, [Online], Available from: [9-March-2011].

12 12 Need to care for Carers? … Carers can make a difference.. But are often unnoticed… “Carers have no recognition in society. When you ring to arrange insurance, and the question of occupation arises, there is no appropriate box to tick. I am not unemployed... I object strongly to that. I work extremely hard... but this work has no apparent value“ British context

13 13 silver industry SUPPORTING OLDER SINGAPOREANS … MCYS will continue to support the social, mental and physical well- being of the growing proportion of older Singaporeans. We will create more programmes for the elderly to be engaged in society, as remaining active after retirement is critical to their well-being. MCYS will also facilitate the development of a "silver industry" to cater to the economic and social aspirations of increasingly better-educated retirees. Many frail elderly are cared for by family members. These carers in turn deserve our support. MYCS will place emphasis on caregivers' programmes, to help meet the carers' needs. Many frail elderly are cared for by family members. These carers in turn deserve our support. MYCS will place emphasis on caregivers' programmes, to help meet the carers' needs. Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports Addendum to the President's Address Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth & Sports

14 14 NCSS – Target areas for specialisation – training caregivers & trainers of caregivers … Recognising caregivers’ stressors pertinent to certain caregiving service areas and hence need specialised professional support… Caregivers of people with /  dementia  requiring palliative care  Mental illness  Parents of children with special needs  Single parents  (NCSS 2004, pp.7-8, 2010)

15 15 Need for Research Research informs policy. nationally-representative data We need more nationally-representative data for Singapore. real needs Data collection should be based on real needs and concerns of older adults and their carers. Partnership Partnership between researchers, service sector, and policy makers will enhance data collection quality. Chan, A. 2-Sep-2005, Formal & informal intergenerational support transfers in Southeast Asia, Lecture given in the 6 th ASEAN Gerontology Course, Furama Hotel, Singapore.

16 16 Policy implications arising out of research economically and physically independent Policies that allow older persons to remain economically and physically independent will reduce stress on the family. burden on middle aged adult children Policies that recognise the burden on middle aged adult children to support 2 generations will be most effective. emotional, financial and time constraints Such policies should focus on emotional, financial and time constraints faced by informal caregivers. Chan, A. 2-Sep-2005, Formal & informal intergenerational support transfers in Southeast Asia, Lecture given in the 6th ASEAN Gerontology Course, Furama Hotel, Singapore.

17 Some recommendations Clear stand on recognition of the carer’s role.  Framework to guide policy and programmes  Provide more coherence to programme initiatives Include carers in the healthcare system Worker’s Leave to incorporate care of older adults  Pressing need as population ages Flexibility in work arrangements with carers More prominent effort for programmes for carers.  Engage Carers: Guidelines (e.g. 10 steps guide to caring)  Some element of assessment for carers to point them in the direction of support system at the start.  Carers-2-Carer Support, centres, discussion boards and blogs. Filter ground reality to policy makers (10-Mar-11) 17

18 18 Don’t wait for carers to reach crisis point before support is sought/given.

19 19 References Chadwick, S. 2001, Caring is detrimental to health: fact or fallacy? A quantitative study of the health of carers, M.Sc. dissertation, King’s College, University of London, London. Chan, A. 2-Sep-2005, Formal & informal intergenerational support transfers in Southeast Asia, Lecture given in the 6th ASEAN Gerontology Course, Furama Hotel, Singapore. CarersUK., [Online], Available from: [6-Mar-2011]. CarersUK. Department of Statistics, Online], [Available from:http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/catalogue.html#demo, [9-Mar-2011].http://www.singstat.gov.sg/pubn/catalogue.html#demo Mehta, K. [ud], National Council of Social Service 2004, Specialised caregiver services – a guide for service providers, [Online], Available from: [23-Feb- 2005]. Rowlands, A, Dec 05-Jan06, “Building resilience of family caregivers’, in Social Service Journal, vol 14, Singapore, NCSS.


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