Project Share the Care SG encourages Singaporeans to provide support to caregivers

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Share the Care SG is a campaign put forward by four students from Nanyang Technological University to encourage Singaporeans to provide support for people who help those with special needs.

This campaign highlights the challenges these caregivers face and educates the community on how to provide help to family-caregivers they know.

It is an unusual target audience, but it is a prominent social issue in Singapore and here is how Share the Care SG made it work:

Why help the caregivers instead of the disabled or people with special needs?

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The group of four students wanted their final year project to be a meaningful social campaign that will impact the lives of others in our community.

There are events that reach out to people with special needs like The Purple Parade and the 8th ASEAN Para Games in 2015. However, very few were directly targeting the family-caregivers who take care of these people with special needs.

Caregivers move mountains when taking care of people with special needs

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After having interviewed more than 20 family-caregivers, Share the Care SG noticed that their main concerns largely hover around four broad categories:

  1. Emotional
  2. Financial
  3. Physical Concerns
  4. Future Worries

These caregivers have to balance the time spent taking care of the people with special needs and also spending time with their loved ones. At times when it gets stressful, these caregivers also mentioned that they are on the verge of slipping into depression.

Of course, financial woes are inevitable when it comes to hospital bills for the special needs. As the people with special needs grow, the caregivers age with time and it gets physically tiring to say, carry a person with special needs on and off the wheelchair.

Caregivers also worry about the future of the person with special needs they are taking care of and it is a constant worry that after they pass on, no one will be there to care for the person with special needs anymore.

Singaporeans are not ready to offer help to the caregivers

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Share the Care SG did a survey among Singaporeans and almost 5 in 10 Singaporeans have had an encounter with a family-caregiver caring for a person with special needs.

However, only 2 in 10 have offered help to them despite 6 in 10 respondents who said that it is necessary to support family-caregivers.

There are three main reasons why Singaporeans are not eager to provide support to the caregivers:

  1. The lack of time
  2. Being unaware of the family-caregiver’s situation
  3. Not knowing how to help

Excuses? Well, maybe.

This is why Share the Care SG plays an integral role in gelling the community and the caregivers together for the caregivers to feel emotional support.

For those who want to offer help but are not sure where to start, educating the public is also part of the Share the Care campaign.

Stop with the excuses; Share the Care SG came up with ways for the public to show support

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Otherwise known as the eight acts of care, Share the Care SG proposed eight ways for the community to help the caregivers they know in their lives.

  1. Offering a listening ear to family-caregivers
  2. Encouraging family-caregivers
  3. Helping with grocery shopping
  4. Offering a ride
  5. Referring them to professional services
  6. Introducing them to other family-caregivers
  7. Showing them appreciation
  8. Acknowledging their efforts

Singapore rank 18th in the world when it comes to how often Singaporeans donate to charity

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And we are ranked 89th position for how often we help strangers, and 42nd for how often we volunteer help according to 34th World Giving Index 2015.

More Singaporeans are more than willing to donate rather than taking time off to help the caregivers but sometimes, it is the emotional support that these caregivers need — they need to know that people from their community care for them too.

If our Changi airport can be one of the best in the world, we could boost our charitable acts up a few notches as well.

Ministers and actors are supporting this great campaign

Minister Chan Chun Sing, Ms Denise Phua and even actor George Young are ambassadors for Share the Care SG campaign.

The ambassadors are part of Share the Care who serve as the mouthpiece for family-caregivers in Singapore, and play a crucial role in making this social issue more prominent.

During the process of this campaign, the four students have befriended the caregivers who are willing to share intimate stories with the students who genuinely care.

You can play your part too

If you know of any person who is a caregiver to a person who has special needs, do not hesitate to show support — writing a sweet note or having a meal with them does not take up a lot of time.

Let the caregivers feel that what they do and what they have sacrificed in the process is worth the while!

 

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Featured image via Share the Care SG