Caring for a loved one is a deeply fulfilling role, but it can also take an emotional toll that often goes unnoticed. The struggles faced by caregivers can sometimes lead to a state of burnout, where exhaustion and feelings of helplessness creep in.
The Silent Struggle: Caregiver Burnout
Sarah’s story resonates with many. Her days are a constant juggling act, tending to her 90-year-old mother, who battles dementia. The recent hospitalisation has exacerbated the situation, demanding even more of her time and energy. Sarah, like countless others, finds herself stretched thin, feeling overwhelmed by the mounting responsibilities.
A Precarious Balance
As health needs change and demands increase, caregivers risk succumbing to burnout. The delicate balance between caregiving, household chores, and personal obligations becomes an intricate web of stress. The emotional toll compounds when there’s a lack of family support, financial constraints, and a constant demand for attention from the one being cared for.
Learning from Others: Denmark, Finland, and Japan
Across the globe, countries like Denmark, Finland, and Japan have developed innovative systems to support both elderly citizens and their caregivers. These nations emphasise comprehensive, coordinated care tailored to individual needs, ensuring that aging loved ones can maintain their dignity and independence.
Breaking the Stereotype in Singapore
In Singapore, caregiving predominantly rests on the shoulders of family members, which can lead to caregiver burnout. Initiatives like CareConnect and SG Assist are emerging to provide a lifeline. These platforms offer tech-enabled solutions and volunteer-driven support for seniors, easing the burden on caregivers like Sarah.
Unlocking Support Through Technology
CareConnect offers seniors and caregivers a digital bridge to a range of services, simplifying access to essential resources. SG Assist, on the other hand, unites volunteers to assist seniors in various tasks, from grocery shopping to medical appointments. These platforms help weave a safety net, preventing caregivers from feeling isolated and overwhelmed.
A Path Forward: Strengthening the Care Ecosystem
Creating a sustainable care ecosystem requires investments in the caregiving sector. By collaborating with organisations like CareConnect and SG Assist, caregivers gain a valuable support network. Leveraging community development councils can further extend this web of assistance, ensuring that caregivers have the resources they need to avoid burnout.
Conclusion: Nurturing Caregivers, Preserving Dignity
Caring for our elders is a responsibility we all hold dear, but it doesn’t have to be a solitary journey. Caregivers like Sarah deserve recognition, empathy, and support. As we draw inspiration from global models, we must also harness the power of technology and community-driven initiatives to create an environment where caregivers thrive, seniors age with dignity, and burnout becomes a thing of the past.
At SG Assist, we understand that caregiving can be tough, but we’re here to help. Our goal is to provide you with the resources and support you need to make your caregiving journey as smooth and stress-free as possible. Visit our websites at SG Assist and CareConnect, and our Caregiver Resource Centre, to find the information and tools you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones. We also invite you to stay up-to-date with the latest news and resources by filling out our form here. Let SG Assist be your partner in caregiving.
Story was adapted from The Straits Times, How to care for the elderly without their caregivers burning out.