By now, it is widely known that caregivers are faced with mounting stressors and the demanding task of caregiving can often lead to physical and mental health problems. However, about 10 years ago, there was little local research on our local caregivers, as we mostly drew from western literature. For this reason, I was inspired to start a research for caregivers of people with disabilities in Singapore.
Caregivers of people with disabilities were in a position of double jeopardy. Many caregivers are faced with the effects of their own aging as well as the disability of their adult child. During an interview, I listened to a mother who had an adult son with multiple disabilities. This mother was herself suffering from a disability in her own body, which hindered her ability to care for her adult son. As her strength was waning, she struggled to carry her son in and out of the bathroom, and on several occasions, she fell as she went about the strenuous task of caregiving. She experienced stigma from many around her, and even endured discrimination from the public and within her own family. The mother shared with me that her only wish was to outlive her son and to care for him right up to his last breath. Tears welled up in my eyes as I listened to her experience. This mother is an epitome of altruistic love and selflessness towards her child. Speaking with caregivers such as this mother was a somber reminder of the “invisible” caregivers among us who care for their family or children tirelessly.
For the next few years, this research was expanded into developing a scale for caregivers of people with disabilities in Singapore. My goal was to develop a local resource that would benefit and improve our service delivery in the community for such caregivers. This project was awarded the American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship for its notable contribution to female caregivers. Locally, this scale is currently being used by several non-profit organisations. You may read more about the scale here.
Feel free to contact me to enquire about the use of this scale in your organisation.