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No Caregiver Tears Alone – By Frieda Chan​

No Caregiver Tears Alone – By Frieda Chan


It was a weekend gathering at my grandparents’ place. Four children were fighting over who got to sit on Grandpa’s tall chair first. They were cousins.

Grandpa’s tall chair had always been their favourite spot. Somehow, they decided to do turn-taking so that everyone got to sit on the chair. The game rule was, they would start with the oldest child.

Pointing to the oldest amongst them, “She must be the youngest since she can’t talk yet”. And so, the oldest cousin was the last to go.

This is a real story. The oldest child was my 5-year-old cousin who is deaf. I was 8 years old. By the side, I spotted my aunty-in-law tearing quietly. That image left an impact on me to support caregivers with special needs dependents.

As a child, I did not know how to comfort Aunty except to play with my cousin. Along the way, I picked up simple sign language from my cousin, joined her at SADeaf events, and brought friends down to watch her perform whenever I could.

When my ex-KKH colleague Dr Lim Hong Huay approached me to help set up CaringSG, it did not take me long to say “Yes”. That image when I was 8 year old was my motivation and inspiration.

The CAREbuddy programme was designed to raise trained caregivers to support fellow caregivers.

My encouragement to all caregivers is to consider having yourselves equipped to serve other caregivers. And if you are in the season to recuperate, reach out for support too. There is no shame in doing so.

Focus on the needful. We are in different life stages at different timepoints. There are seasons to give, to receive, and seasons for both. Pace yourself. Join the Caregiver Volunteer Briefing to check out how you can be equipped to serve.

About Ms Frieda Chan and CAREbuddy Programme

Ms Frieda Chan is CAREbuddy’s Lead and CAREwell’s senior social worker.

The CAREbuddy programme is a supportive service for caregivers with dependents with special needs or disabilities, by trained caregivers (called CAREbuddies). Through regular engagement, the CAREbuddy supports the caregiver to work through personal and family needs and issues in ways that bring about positive changes.

  • Caregivers who would like to sign up to be supported by a CAREbuddy can register here.
  • Caregivers who are keen to volunteer as CAREbuddies can follow our Facebook page to receive updates on the next briefing session.

Featured image from Ms Frieda Chan (centre): Brought friends to support Cousin Lily’s performance at NLB (Dec 2007)

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