Prefer to look after your elderly parent or grandparent at home? You're not alone. However, there's a cost to this – mainly in the form of financial and caregiver stress.
It can be extremely tiring to care for an elderly person, let alone one who's also disabled or ill. I've met a patient who had to take care of not one, but two parents with severe dementia. Imagine that!
Fortunately, there are various grants available for home care patients. We've helped you to curate all the must-know subsidy schemes in one place - just to make your life a little easier (:
1. Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme (PioneerDAS)
The PioneerDAS is a monthly lifelong cash assistance of $100 a month.
It's meant for Singaporean citizens born before 1950, who need supervision or physical assistance with at least 3 of the 6 following activities of daily living:
- Transferring (eg. moving from bed to chair)
Eldershield and IDAPE are largely similar. However, you can only be on ONE of these two schemes (not both).
For Eldershield, it's a monthly payout of $400 a month, for a maximum period of 72 months.
To qualify, patients must require supervision or physical assistance with at least 3 of the 6 activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting and walk).
All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents with Medisave accounts are automatically enrolled in ElderShield at the age of 40, unless you choose to opt out of the scheme.
If you do opt out, you'll be subject to a medical assessment again. However, if you are severely disabled (unable to perform at least 3 ADLs) prior to the start of your ElderShield enrolment, you may not be eligible for claims.
For IDAPE, it's a monthly payout of $150 or $250 a month, for a maximum period of 72 months.
To qualify, you must be a Singapore citizen born before 30 September 1932 OR born between 1 October 1932 and 30 September 1962 (both dates inclusive) but with pre-existing disabilities as at 30 September 2002.
To qualify, the per capita household monthly income must be $2,600 or less.
3. Foreign Domestic Worker grant (FDW)
The Foreign Domestic Worker Grant is a monthly cash assistance of $120 for the hiring of a helper.
It's for Singapore citizens regardless of age, or for permanent residents aged 65 years and above who need supervision or physical assistance with at least 3 of the 6 activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting and walking).
4. Senior’s Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF)
The Senior's Mobility and Enabling Fund is a co-payment type subsidy scheme. It applies to 3 main categories:
- Assistive Devices: walking aids like walking sticks and wheelchairs; mobility aids within the home like commodes; even pressure relief cushions and hospital beds for bed-bound patients, as well as spectacles and hearing aids.
- Transport cost: subsidies for day-care/activities/rehabilitation at Ministry of Health-funded Eldercare Centres, Dialysis Centres or Day Hospices.
- Home Healthcare: feeding tubes, urine catheters, milk supplements, thickeners, adult diapers and wound dressings.
To qualify for this subsidy, per capita household monthly income must be $1,800 or less.
5. Caregiver’s Training Grant (CTG)
The Caregiver Training Grant is an annual cash assistance of $200 per patient that lets caregivers attend training courses (not just domestic helpers but next-of-kin also).
The payout can be shared amongst caregivers to allow more than one to attend courses.
Some of these courses can even be arranged in your own home.
Do note that there's a co-payment of $10 for the next-of-kin for each course.
6. Nursing Home Respite Care Grant
Need a breather from looking after your elderly at home?
This grant subsidizes respite care - meaning to say, it enables you to temporarily lodge a loved one you're caring for in a nursing home.
There's a minimum period of 7 days, and a maximum period of 30 days for temporary lodging.
Do take note of the following caveats:
- There's a co-payment sum of at least 20% of the cost. A rough estimate of the cost of 1 day of respite care in a nursing home is about $150 a day if there's 0% subsidy.
- Some nursing homes require a deposit to “book a slot” in advance. This deposit can be up to 2 weeks of lodging (about $500 - $800).
- Patients with tracheostomy tubes need to be in a nursing home with CSU (chronic sick unit) capabilities. The cost is higher at $250 a day if there is 0% subsidy. Because there are limited nursing home with CSU capabilities, early booking and planning must be done.
Dr Lai Junxu is the founder and director of OmniMed Healthcare Holdings, part of HC Surgical Specialists Ltd. His practice is that of home care, and his patients are mainly the elderly with mobility issues, or those with end-stage organ disease or cancer. Dr Lai aims to allow patients to age gracefully and die peacefully at home. In his spare time, Dr Lai spends time with his wife discovering new eating places together, and enjoy accompanying his three young boys at kids-friendly playgrounds and events.