By 2030, senior citizens aged 65 years and above are expected to make up one quarter of the Singaporean population. Noting that Singapore is an increasingly ageing population, it is essential that we take good care of our silver generation. This has been made evident amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. With senior citizens more vulnerable to the virus, it is understandable that the challenges for caretakers have increased. 

If you are looking for tips on how to juggle these new responsibilities, we have compiled some services to help you better take care of your loved ones. 

1. Senior Activity Centres

Juggling work and caretaking ain’t an easy feat. Leaving our elderly alone at home can be a worry. Located in the void decks of certain HDBs, Senior Activity Centres are a drop-in alternative where seniors are encouraged to participate in active ageing through activities such as karaoke, arts & craft, and exercise. If preferred, Senior Activity Centres (Cluster Support) are also available where seniors can enjoy similar activities from the comfort and safety of their own home. 

Both services are free if the care recipient is aged 60 years or older, needs help with daily activities and has little or no family support. To apply for either service, use the E-care Locator to find service providers near you and contact your preferred provider directly. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, please contact your preferred service provider to enquire about their respective safety measures. 

2. Home Caregiving Grant

Having replaced the Foreign Domestic Worker Grant as of October 2019, the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) is a monthly $200 payout by the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) to help you support your loved ones. The grant is beneficial in helping lighten the costs of eldercare services or the hiring of a foreign domestic worker. 

To qualify for the HCG, you must be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident living in Singapore with a household monthly income per person of $2,800 or less or an annual value of property for household without income at $13,000 or less. In addition, the care receiver must require some assistance in at least three of six listed daily activities, including eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting and moving around. 

Application is a three-step process starting with the completion of an application form, followed by a health assessment and the submission of documents. 

3. Caregivers Training Grant

If you would like to better yourself in taking care of your loved ones, you can consider the Caregivers Training Grant (CTG) by AIC. The grant offers a $200 subsidy every year for caretakers to attend approved courses and develop one’s caretaking ability. These courses can be conducted in your home, a classroom or a training centre. Electronic learning is also available and particularly useful during this period. 

While the designated caretaker can be a family member or a foreign domestic worker, the care recipient must be a Singporean or Permanent Resident aged 65 and above or with an assessed disability. After the registration of a course, you must pay at least $10. 

To apply, explore the list of available courses and contact the training provider to register for the course. You may also choose to complete the CTG Application Form and have it submitted for you by the training provider.

4. Counselling Services

Especially in the midst of a pandemic, the emotional health of both caretaker and care recipient can take a toll. Should you or your care recipient face personal or family challenges, do not be afraid to seek counselling from a Community Intervention Team (COMIT). Based in the community through Social Service Agencies, holistic service is provided not only through counselling, but also for clients with mental health issues and dementia. 

To locate your nearest COMIT or search for a list of COMITs, use the E-care Locator and contact them directly.  

5. The Seniors Helpline

Manned by SAGE Counselling Centre, The Seniors Helpline is a toll-free National Helpline that is available for seniors as well as anyone with queries or concerns about the elderly. The confidential helpline offers services such as tele-counselling, tele-befriending and information about available community services. 

You can call The Seniors Helpline at 1800-555 5555. It operates on weekdays from 9am to 7pm and on Saturday from 9am to 1pm. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Caring for seniors may not be the easiest task but it is undoubtedly one of the most important and fulfilling, especially during these challenging times. Take care of them and yourself. Together, we can build a City of Good and get through this period as a community.