SINGAPORE – Women often have additional caregiving responsibilities, whether it is caring for children or elderly parents.
So more needs to be done to support them financially and emotionally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (September 18th) during the closing session of the Singapore Women’s Development Conversations.
Such additional responsibility for care is one of the obstacles in women’s work and careers, as caregivers have to make many significant sacrifices, he said.
Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling said on Saturday that a survey conducted as part of the initiative found that women in dual-income households were five times more more likely than men to handle household chores and family responsibilities.
Women were also nearly four times more likely to have quit their jobs to care for them than men, she added.
Noting that being a caregiver is both hard work and “heart” work, Premier Lee said, “Their careers are affected. The cost of care can be substantial.
âCaregivers have more difficulty building their own retirement savings. This can make caregivers, especially full-time caregivers, very vulnerable.
Many in the conversations strongly felt it was unfair to caregivers, he added, agreeing that caregivers, whether female or male, deserved more support.
One direct avenue is to provide more financial assistance, Premier Lee said.
To this end, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is exploring how it can improve the Home Care Subsidy Program, in order to provide more assistance to targeted groups.
Prime Minister Lee said, “No amount of money will fully compensate for the sacrifices that caregiving requires, but we know that many caregivers would appreciate more help.”
Another important issue was the well-being of the caregivers themselves, as many said that they often did not have free time and did not know where and how to seek help.
Many found themselves exhausted and exhausted.
PM Lee said the Department of Health is exploring how it can expand respite care options to meet the varied needs of caregivers.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Parliamentary Secretary for Communications and Information and Health Rahayu Mahzam, who is one of the three co-leaders on the review, said the initiatives would go a long way in delivering better support for the elderly, their caregivers and their families.
She said: âThe conversations made it clear that women who reach their full potential will improve all of our lives at home, in schools, in the workplace and in the community.
“But to achieve this, we will need an effort from the whole of society of men and women to change our mindsets and overcome societal stereotypes about gender roles.”
Ms Fannie Lim, executive director of the Daughters of Tomorrow charity, hoped that women who quit working to be home caregivers would benefit from automatic top-ups to their Central Provident Fund accounts.
She said: âI was a stay-at-home mom for six years.
âOf course, when you stop working there are some benefits that are not available to you. So if we can have some kind of recognition for the caregivers, in very practical terms like grants or even some form of income supplement, that would be good.