Women Caregivers Require More Financial & Emotional Support, PM Lee Says MOH Studies Are Underway

PM Lee Shares About Giving Caregivers Support During Conversations On Singapore Women’s Development

With a rapidly aging population, Singapore has been having more conversations surrounding caregivers and the support they need.

And often, caregiving responsibilities of caring for children or the elderly falls on women.

On Saturday (18 Sep), during the closing session of Conversations on Singapore Women’s Development, PM Lee expressed that more needs to be done to support women caregivers.

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Noting that such work involves both hard work and “heart work”, he said more financial and emotional support should be provided for them.

Caretakers often left vulnerable

At the Conversations on Singapore Women’s Development, Minister for State Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling shared a survey finding that women in dual-income households were 5 times more likely than men to be managing housework and caregiving responsibilities.

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This was found to have wider implications.

For example, women were 4 times more likely to leave their jobs for caretaking than men.

According to The Straits Times (ST), PM Lee said that caregiving is hard work and “heart” work.

Caregivers face struggles as expenses are substantial. Their careers are also affected, making it harder for them to build their own retirement savings, he said.

He noted that this leaves caregivers, especially full-time caregivers, very vulnerable.

PM Lee says caregivers need more support

PM Lee said many participants in the conversation felt that things were unfair for caregivers.

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Most agreed that caregivers, regardless of gender, deserved more support.

He continued that one direct way of providing support is more financial assistance.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is now studying how to enhance the Home Caregiving Grant scheme so more help can be given to targeted groups, reported ST.

PM Lee acknowledged that money cannot fully compensate for the sacrifices caregivers make, but the help would be appreciated by many.

He also brought up the issue of burnout for caregivers.

Many end up exhausted as they do not have time for themselves.

To tackle this, MOH is also studying how it can expand options for respite care to cater to caregivers’ needs.

More progress to be made on women’s issues

Besides caregiver issues, PM Lee also spoke about equal opportunities at the workplace and protection for women.

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In a Facebook post, he shared that these issues reflect our fundamental value of caring for one another, giving every individual a fair shot at success, and ensuring equal protection for all.

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He stressed that while Singapore has made significant progress in women’s issues, more progress is needed in the way men and women treat one another to become the society we want to be.

Concluding his post, he said all of us must play our part to enable Singapore women to participate to the full.

PM Lee then urged everyone to work together towards a fairer, more inclusive society, where our daughters and sons can thrive.

Hope more initiatives will arise from conversations

With the conclusion of the Conversations on Saturday (18 Sep), PM Lee assured that the government will study views received on issues and develop proposals in a White Paper in 2021, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

It has no doubt been a challenging year for the government but we’re glad that they are still taking the time to work on important matters such as caregiver support.

Hopefully, such fruitful conversations will give rise to initiatives and plans to better support the caregivers amidst us.

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Featured image adapted from Prime Minister’s Office via YouTube and Marigold Caregivers.

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