The Ageing Population
Respite Care – A Whole Family Approach: By 2030, it is estimated that a quarter of the population of Singapore will be over 65 years old. Governments of countries worldwide are facing a similar demographic shift and new challenges associated with longer life expectancy. The Ministerial Committee on Ageing is implementing and researching a variety of initiatives to enable the population to age well. Aging well is the goal of living out your later years in good health, physically and mentally. The success of those initiatives will begin with a thorough understanding of older people, their health and physical needs, and how the larger elderly population will affect family and community dynamics.
Singapore has consistently recognized the importance of the family and the extended family. With the increasing number of elderly family members, informal caregiving will become a significant aspect of family life. Informal caregiving is currently a way of life for thousands of Singaporeans.
The Ministry of Health has acknowledged how informal caregivers provide invaluable support for elderly families and community members. Caring for a family member may be seen as a moral duty for some and come from a place of love between the generations. However positive the carer’s feelings and relationship, caring for another eventually takes its toll. The burdens of caring can be far-reaching financially, emotionally, and physically. Many informal caregivers also have their children, partner, and career to focus on. Helping carers balance their responsibilities means their vital contribution to the lives of older people can continue.
Elderly Senior Respite Care
Informal caregivers reduce the burden on health services. The presence of family carers may prevent admission to a care home. This is crucial to help the health services target resources for those most need them. Family carers can be the key to an older adults remaining independent and living well in their later years. Regular contact with family can also prevent loneliness and mental health problems and help the older adult feel connected.
However, it is vital to understand that carers themselves require ongoing support. Elderly senior respite care meets the need for temporary, flexible, and individualized care arrangements that allow caregivers to take a much-needed break. This could be a regular arrangement, where a professional steps in for a few hours each week or a few days a fortnight. Some options can help if the caregiver is absent for extended periods, requires ad-hoc help, or goes on vacation.
The Advantages of Respite Care
Respite carers are certified professionals, often with years of experience caring for older people. They are trained and adept at working with people with varying medical and care requirements levels. Despite this, having a stranger in the home and assisting with personal care can initially feel daunting.
From their experience, they can share good practices with the family and help manage care. They will be skilled in creating positive connections and helping the older adult feel secure.
Respite carers can visit for a few hours or as long as required. They can assist with domestic tasks and provide personal and medical care. The agency can offer the same professional for regular respite care, ensuring continuity and stability. Many families develop great relationships with the professional carers they employ.
Things to Consider
Accepting a professional carer instead of a family member may be stressful for an older adult. It is initially difficult for people to get any help at all. Admitting they rely on others daily may be a shame for our elderly. For parents, transitioning from being the carer to the one needing care is traumatic.
They may not realize how many hours of care they require and its impact on their carers. The changing roles and dynamics in the family may take some time, communication, and perseverance to work out. Using respite care will again take time to determine what is right for an individual, their carers, and their family.
Residential Respite Care
Often older adults will feel most comfortable in their own homes. This is where they would prefer to stay and have respite carers visit them. They will likely have the correct equipment, selected food and drink, and a favorite armchair. However, it can be an option for an older adult to stay in a residential care facility.
This may be suitable for those who need 24-hour care or do not want a professional entering their home. Various residential respite facilities are available, with different care packages to meet individual needs. Some may seem more like a hotel than a care facility and will be equipped with everything needed to make people feel at home.
If the caregiver shares a home with the older adult, this can also give them the space and break from their caring responsibilities. Residential respite care may help bridge the gap from home to a nursing home.
The Value of Respite Care
Depending on the circumstances, families may be eligible for the Home Care Giving Grant. The grant provides up to $400 monthly to help with care costs, including temporary part-time elderly care. Hourly rates for a professional home carer average around $20 per hour, with further subsidies available for ongoing care needs.
Respite care provides a great value option for the family to rest and recharge. The carers can relax knowing their loved one receives the support they need. The carers will be refreshed and ready to resume their responsibilities after the break. By engaging with a respite service, carers will be comfortable knowing someone can step in whenever needed. Quality respite care provides a holistic whole-family approach to meeting older people’s and their carers’ needs.
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