First-time Caregivers of Older Adults SG

First-time Caregivers of Older Adults SG Supporting first-time, soon-to-be and potential caregivers of older adults in Singapore. For careg


"What do I need to know so as not to burden my children?"

This was a question from one of the participants during an online session held in partnership with Tsao Foundation and NLB on 16 Sept 2021.

The topic was 'Help! I don't want to burden my children' and we explored possible reasons why parents could feel like they're burdening their loved ones and ways to work around it.

So what can possibly help?

If you've ever tried:

a. ploughing through the fine print of insurance policies,
b. calculating your way to the best home loan: fixed or floating? or
c. figuring out the 'healthiest' options in the supermarket aisles,

you'll know that: we don't know what we don't know.
But once we do, the more we realise we don't know very much.

Because as with most new things we encounter for the first time, it's a whole new world for us - the terminology, the (often unspoken) rules, the shortcuts to getting things done better and faster - all of which are familiar only to insiders.

So until we get there, it's going to be a struggle if you really want to dive in and get a good grasp of things.

It's the same with healthcare, but ESPECIALLY healthcare.

Because unlike most other things, we're confronted with the complex web of care only at the point of crisis: mum has fallen, says she's in pain and the A&E is your first solution.

Sure, the insurance you bought her can cover some of the bill.

But what about coverage for the emotional stress you all are about to experience if her condition turns out to be something more serious?

Who's going to care for her after she gets home?
What're the other sources of help available?
(Can you tell your home care from your day care from your integrated home and day care?)
What's the eligilbity criteria for different services
And what're the subsidies applicable?

A million dollars and a domestic helper will not solve the problem.
Knowing your options and being psychologically prepped will.

Sometimes ignorance offers no second let's start the conversation today! With friends and with those whom we know we'll be caring for in time to come.

Feel free to post here or in our safe space by clicking on the GROUPS tab above and joining the private group. Hear from you soon! 😄



Last year's Census of Population 2020 captured for the first time difficulties that some residents faced with basic activities - seeing, hearing, walking, remembering, self-care and communicating.

How do you think the 65+ folks ranked them?

Among the elders who can't do or had LOTS of difficulty with at least 1 activity (about 69,000), MOBILITY was cited as the top challenge followed by SLEF-CARE and REMEMBERING things:

1. Mobility (most difficult)
2. Self-care
3. Remembering / concentrating
4. Hearing
5. Seeing
6. Communicating (least difficult)

Other numbers we found interesting were:

a) Of the elders who had LOTS of difficulty with their daily tasks, 7 in 10 of them live with children or other persons including possibly domestic helpers, and

b) about a quarter of all the elders (around 160,000) had SOME difficulty with at least 1 activity.

Which means there is a lot we, as their yougner relatives, can do - and much earlier - to prevent or delay the decline of our older folks.

Because going from independent to needing help with basic activities doesn't happen overnight, it takes months, more likely years.

But we need to be able to spot and flag things / behaviours that we think might be bit odd or off such as:

+Dad getting grumpier
+Mum opting for more bread or maggi over proper meals
+Grandpa looking skinnier
+Aunty falling one too many times
+Granny becoming more withdrawn

The changes you observe could be due to age. Or not.

Frailty, mood/personality shifts, confusion, decreased judgment have many causes such as disease, medication, relationship challenges and environmental factors.

What they all need is an observant outsider to spot a trend and get help before things get too bad for much to be done.

So don't brush Dad off as impatient or about to lose his marbles the next time he says FLY ME TO THE LOO!

He really could be having difficulty getting from his room to the kitchen toilet in time.

For more ideas on how to navigate older adulthood and anticipated caregiving, browse Travelling Solo here: or join the private group to share and learn from othe like-minded folks. (Click the 'Groups' button above to join)


Thank you Susan for having us on your show and for inspiring listeners to look at caregiving a little differently! LIke a journey to a foreign land, it may be different and sometimes difficult, but it's also a chance to discover who we truly are and what we really want.

If you're about to embark on your first caregiving voyage, join us to share your experience, learn from others or just vent / have a conversation.

Remember, you're not alone yea? ;)


Unlike first-time parents who eagerly prep for their baby's arrival by designing their crib, attending antenatal classes and anticipating sleepless nights, not many (or no?) adult children seem to be doing the same for their ageing parent/relative/friend.

Do you know of any who are?

If not, why do you think we're not doing enough to prepare ourselves and those we know to grow older well?

Join the private group to take the poll and discuss questions / views you may have. Click on 'Groups' on the menu bar above to join.

See you there 😉




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