Caregivers call for more support in looking after dementia patients amid rising stress,


AVENUES OF SUPPORT

For those who need help looking after their loved ones with dementia, full-time residential care facilities are an option.

However, these facilities can cost anywhere between S$700 (US$530) and S$4,000 per month, depending on the amount of subsidies given.

Some caregivers may not be able to afford such services, and the lack of respite from caregiving duties can be damaging.

Caregivers are often “just thrown into a caregiving role” and typically, “there is really no training or knowledge about how to care for oneself”, said Dr Andy Ho, director of research at the Nanyang Technological University’s Palliative Care Centre for Excellence in Research and Education.

They may have to give up career opportunities or recreational activities as caregiving “requires their attention all the time”. 

“(For) a caregiver who is dealing with demands and stress all the time, the body is constantly pumping out stress hormones,” said Dr Ho, adding that caregivers who are constantly under such stress may face headaches, migraines or other serious conditions such as stroke. 

“In the short term, that will lead to these bodily symptoms that could be quite impactful and damaging. But in the long haul, it will lead to a continuous weakening of our immune system that can lead us to be much more susceptible to chronic conditions and diseases.”



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