Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song (Aljunied): Caring for elderly parents is a heavy responsibility that many Singaporeans bear. And it can take a toll on their physical and mental health leading to burnout. Many caregivers are women or single adults who sacrifice their careers or personal lives to be caregivers. Our society must recognise caregivers’ challenges and give them more support.
The Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) is now between $250 and $400 per month. However, those who have a monthly household income per person of more than $2,800 do not qualify.
A study by researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School found that the cost of informal caregiving time for a care recipient who needs help with three or more Activities of Daily Living or ADLs, is about $53,244 annually, or $4,437 monthly.
Can I propose that the Government extend the HCG to households earning up to the prevailing median income per household member? This will help more middle-income earners who struggle with the cost of caregiving.
Second, caregivers sometimes need temporary nursing home places for their loved ones so that they can occasionally travel or have some respite care. Can MOH expand the availability and accessibility of such temporary nursing home places?
And lastly, I would like to reiterate my call – and that of many other Members – for Family Care Leave to be legislated. While this is not a panacea to address caregiving challenges, it can be part of a package of help that is extended to caregivers.
Sir, caregiving is probably one of the most stressful responsibilities for anyone to bear. Implementing these suggestions will go some way to assure caregivers that they have not been forgotten in their difficult and often lonely journey.
Ministry of Health
3 March 2023