This week, one headline in the news caught my eye: Singapore is aiming to almost double the number of eldercare centres to 220 by 2025.

If you’re a senior, that’s good news indeed! It means that there will be more avenues to maintain an active lifestyle in your senior years. Even though your social circle may be shrinking after retirement and your children have moved out, you can meet other seniors, keep a healthy social life, and stay physically active.

And if you’re a caregiver, that’s good news, too. I know this personally because my father goes to an eldercare centres twice a week for physiotherapy. Though he’s only there for an hour each time, it puts in place some form of fixed routine in his life: he has to get up, dress up, and prepare to go out, just like what he used to do when he was working.

Thanks to this routine and the exercise that he gets at the eldercare centre (and other exercises he does on other days), he has retained his mobility despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago. And that’s important for us, because it means that he can still get up and out of bed, shower, and go to the toilet on his own.

But while we’re looking forward to the expansion of eldercare centres, we know that time is required to build the facilities. So where can we turn to for help in the meantime?

This question struck home for me recently, after my mum had a fall. Somehow, my dad became depressed as a result. His emotional state affected his physical condition, and he became unable to move. So I became the primary caregiver to two elderly people at home. God, in His grace, showed me where I could turn to:

Family

My sisters and brothers are all married and have their own families. Despite their responsibilities, however, they help to bear the load of caregiving whenever and however they can.

My brother and his wife visit us with their 3-year-old son often, my sister takes our parents for their medical appointments, and another sister, who lives in the United States, chips in on the financial expenses for our parents’ care.

Their constant help makes me feel most supported in caring for our parents, and reminds me why it is so important for us to heed God’s command to “learn first of all to put [our] religion into practice by caring for [our] own family and so repaying [our] parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God” (1 Timothy 5:4).

Community

My sister had pre-registered my dad for respite care at a nursing home earlier, so when my mum fell and needed time to recover at home, we were able to put him in the nursing home for two weeks to ensure that he received proper medical care.

The availability of such services made me appreciate anew why God desires a society that takes extra effort to care for the weak and needy.

In Leviticus, we see laws that provide avenues for the poorer Israelites to find help. For example, Leviticus 23:22 says: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.”

The Holy Spirit

Because I’m the only child living with my parents, there are many moments when I feel that I am facing the brunt of caregiving on my own. And while having my father stay in the nursing home gave me two weeks of much-needed respite, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Every now and then, I would wonder if dad was feeling abandoned or lonely.

It is in such times, that I receive great comfort from knowing that God is my ever-present help.

Jesus promised to send us an Advocate who would help us, and this was the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). The Greek word for “advocate” is paraclete, which can also be translated as comforter, encourager, and counsellor.

Over the years, I have been comforted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit’s presence, knowing that I can lean on His help, anytime, all the time.

If you are a caregiver, I pray that you, too, will receive help from family, community, and the Holy Spirit. May you be strengthened by the truth that God will help you through this journey and provide all that you need. And may we all be a help to others in their time of need, and offer comfort, encouragement, and strength to support them in their caregiving duties.

Lord, thank You for Your provision of family, community, and above all, Your Holy Spirit. Help me to be a help to others too, and to give others just as I have received from You.

Discover how you can find strength and comfort from God in He Walks With Me, a devotional written specially for caregivers.

Poh Fang never dreamed of being in a language-related profession; chemistry was her first love. The turning point came when she received Jesus as her Savior as a 15-year-old and expressed to Him that she would like to create books that touch lives.

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