4 Alternative Caregiving Options For Your Elderly Parents6 min read
Taking care of your elderly parents is not easy, so what are your options?
I was drinking with my friend, Yam Tong, last week at a kopitiam, and he told me he’s very stressed. Now that he and his wife have to go back office to work, he is leaving his father who has dementia all alone at home. He is scared his father will go out and get lost, so he keeps him at home, sends food home, and calls him to check in regularly. But he’s also scared something will happen to his father when he is not around.
Then it made me think. Wah, if Grandpa Tng next time like that how? I also will stress sia! So I went online to do some research, and found some alternative options of caregiving that Yam Tong, you or I can consider.
1. Hiring a Domestic Helper
Employing a domestic helper will ensure that your parents will be taken care of full-time. It will be a great option if you are not living with your parents, or if you are constantly away for work. Then you don’t have to constantly worry if they have eaten, taken their medication, or are healthy and well when you are not physically with them.
If your parents need a medically-trained domestic helper, there are also some agencies that help you employ a live-in caregiver. These people provide personal care and assist in the day-to-day activities of a care recipient, who is usually an elderly or a person with disability. Such agencies include Anglo Caregivers, Marigold Caregivers, and Active Global.
However, hiring a domestic helper is a longer-term commitment. You will have to hire the helper for a minimum of two years, and provide a place of accommodation for her. Aside from the helper’s monthly salary, you will also have to pay for her living expenses, levies, insurance, as well as medical examination.
2. Home Nursing
Image source: Pixabay
If you want to have in-home help, but don’t have enough space or money for a full-time domestic helper, you can consider engaging home nursing services with registered nurses in Singapore. This is especially convenient if you have parents who require medical attention. With nurses or caregivers doing house calls, you don’t have to headache about arranging transport to and fro the hospital for your parents, or how you have to ask your boss for more time off.
Most of these services charge on an hourly-basis, while some platforms curate a care plan and charge accordingly. Here are some places you can consider getting your home nursing services from.
Providing both short-term and long-term home care, Caregiver Asia asks you to list down what you need the caregiver to do, the details of the person getting cared for, as well as the dates and times when you need the service.
Besides conducting medical procedures, the organisation also provides general care such as showering, feeding, dressing, and transporting your parents to and from medical appointments. The caregivers can also take on the role of a companion, and accompany your parents.
If you need a last-minute nurse, you can also contact Caregiver Asia directly to arrange for a home care service within 24 hours or less. However, this comes with an additional charge.
Find out more here.
Homage Home Care
Homage is an online platform and app that provides a wide range of care services, including nursing care by local nurses, home medical care by local doctors, and even various therapies by local therapists.
The platform also has an extensive range of specialised care for conditions such as dementia, parkinson’s, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and more. If your parents suddenly fall ill and are unable to leave the house, Homage also conducts tele-consultations on its app which will connect them to a doctor.
Find out more here.
If you are a little bit cash-strapped and are looking for a more affordable alternative, NTUC Health does provide home nursing services that can be subsidised! If eligible, up to 80% of the cost can be absorbed.
However, do note that the private nurses at NTUC Health are only available from Monday to Friday, excluding Public Holidays, from 9am to 6pm. If you require help outside of these hours, you will have to reach out directly to NTUC Health to request for a special arrangement.
Find out more here.
3. Elderly Day Care
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While home nursing services can be incredibly convenient, we know that many elderlies get lonely when they are left at home. Hence, if your elderly parents are fully-mobile and prefer to be in a more social setting, you can consider enrolling them into an elderly day care centre.
The Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) runs day care centres for seniors. This is a day-time programme for them to maintain or improve their general, physical and social well-being. Through the programme, seniors also have a place to socialise and take part in recreational activities with friends. Seniors will then return home after the daycare closes.
For seniors with dementia, there are also dedicated day care centres that cater specially to them. If you need night-time caregiving duties due to their sundowning behavior (a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night), AIC does provide an overnight respite option so your parents can be cared for at night.
4. Nursing Home
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If you are looking for a more long-term alternative, you might consider enrolling your parents into a nursing home as well. In a nursing home, your parents will have multiple staff looking out for them around-the-clock. They will also not have to travel to and fro home and day care centres every day, and this decreases chances of accidents occurring along the way.
However, not everyone is eligible to stay in a nursing home. According to AIC, an elderly person applying to stay in a nursing home must either be physically or mentally disabled because of illness, or semi-mobile (using a wheelchair or bed-bound) and needs help with daily activities such as walking or going to the toilet.
The elderly person will also only be considered eligible if they are unable to be cared for at home by their family or paid domestic helper, and after exhausting all other care options such as day care, home medical, and home nursing services. In short, this arrangement has to be a last resort.
To apply for nursing home care, you will have to submit your parent’s medical report which can be obtained from a doctor. This report will have to include:
- Clinical history
- Current functional status
- Required nursing procedures
- Drug allergy history
- Cognitive and behavioural symptoms
- Chest X-Ray results
The basic cost for a nursing home stay is also not cheap, and varies between $2,000 and $3,600 a month, depending on the level of care required. To confirm your parents’ eligibility or available subsidies, it will be best to consult a Medical Social Worker before applying for a stay.
It's okay to ask for help
As children, I believe we all want the best for our parents. However, with the daily demands of life, work, and our own family, it can get very overwhelming sometimes. In cases like these, perhaps getting external help is better, as it could allow your parents to get the best care they need, given their medical conditions.
Taking care of your parents is important, but you also have to take care of yourself. I’ve also shared this list of alternatives with my son Bobby, so if in the future I need help with my daily care, he will be more prepared.
The Patriach of the Tng family, Uncle Tng is a Grab driver with the gift of the gab. He’s loud, always trying to help and still uses the terms “Internet” and “Chat room”. As he sees himself as an experienced man of the world, he’s often sharing his worldly views, whether you are interested or not.