Caring for a loved one with an intellectual disability can be a challenging yet profoundly rewarding journey. In Singapore, as the population ages, the need for comprehensive support and healthcare services for individuals with intellectual disabilities has never been more crucial. Read on to find out about the ways you can seek help.
Understanding the Challenges
Individuals with intellectual disabilities often face cognitive and communication limitations, making it difficult for them to convey their needs and concerns to healthcare professionals. In such situations, caregivers become the voice for their loved ones, but this can be overwhelming and stressful.
As caregivers age, the demands of caring for an individual with intellectual disabilities become even more taxing. Senior caregivers often deal with their own health issues, leaving them with limited energy and time to navigate the complex healthcare system. The physical and emotional toll of caring for a loved one with intellectual disabilities can be immense, leading to burnout, anxiety, and a decline in their own well-being.
Balancing the demands of caring for a loved one with their own health needs, family obligations, and personal commitments can be overwhelming for senior caregivers. This lack of time and energy can hinder their ability to effectively advocate for their loved ones’ healthcare needs.
Lack of Specialized Healthcare
Navigating the healthcare system for individuals with intellectual disabilities can be a daunting task. General healthcare practitioners may not possess the knowledge or experience needed to provide comprehensive care to this unique group of patients, especially as they transition into adulthood.
Overcoming the Challenges
Integrated and Holistic Care
Dr. Chen’s clinic, IDHealth, provides a ray of hope for caregivers in Singapore. They focus not just on the individual with an intellectual disability but also on their family’s needs. By addressing the healthcare needs of both the patient and their caregiver, they aim to provide integrated and holistic care.
One vital aspect of IDHealth‘s approach is to build capability within healthcare service providers. Collaboration with general practitioners ensures that patients receive comprehensive care, and their unique needs are met effectively. It’s about working together to provide the best care possible.
A Helping Hand for Caregivers
Embracing the Support
Caring for a senior loved one with an intellectual disability is undoubtedly challenging. However, caregivers in Singapore don’t need to face these challenges alone. Various social organisations and healthcare services are available to provide the much-needed support.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has recognized the growing need for support in caregiving and is investing significant resources to enhance the services provided by day activity centres. This includes additional funding to hire more care staff and psychologists.
Just as Dr. Chen Shiling’s clinic approaches patients with intellectual disabilities holistically, caregivers can find solace in organisations that offer emotional and practical support. Organisations in Singapore such as SG Enable and MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) also understand the unique journey of caregivers and provide the empathy and resources needed.
Caring for a senior loved one with an intellectual disability is a journey that requires empathy, patience, and a robust support system. In Singapore, organisations like IDHealth and government initiatives are working tirelessly to make this journey more manageable for caregivers. Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you provide the best care for your loved one. Caring for them as a whole person, addressing their needs, and embracing support are the keys to a fulfilling caregiving journey.
At SG Assist and CareConnect, we believe that every act of kindness counts. Whether you’re a caregiver in need of support or a volunteer looking to make a difference, we’re here for you. Visit SG Assist and CareConnect’s website to learn more about our services, download the SG Assist app or sign up as a volunteer for our Caregiver Resource Centre, and together, let’s create a community of care and support. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter here for updates on how you can help.
Story was adapted from The Straits Times, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/clinic-set-up-for-adults-with-intellectual-disability-and-their-caregivers