The Unexpected Role Reversal

When Pauline Teo was just 24, her life took an unexpected turn as her father suffered a major stroke. Suddenly, she found herself thrust into the role of a caregiver, responsible for her father’s daily needs and well-being. This marked a significant shift in her life, as she had to adapt to being both a young adult who had just graduated from University, and the head of the household.

Balancing Work, Finances, and Caregiving

As a full-time educator, Pauline faced the challenge of juggling her job, finances, and caregiving responsibilities. She dedicated her time and energy to caring for her father, shuttling between work and hospital visits, often feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Financial burdens added to her worries, but she persevered, taking on the role of a tuition teacher to provide the flexibility needed to attend to her father’s medical appointments.

Seeking Support and Finding Strength

Pauline learned the importance of seeking support during her caregiving journey. With the help of a social worker, she discovered a range of resources available to caregivers, such as the Agency for Integrated Care’s (AIC) Caregivers Training Grant, which provided valuable financial support. She also benefited from the Migrant Domestic Worker Levy Concession, easing the financial strain of hiring a helper. The Home Caregiving Grant from AIC offered much-needed financial relief, and the Assistive Technology Fund provided subsidies for assistive devices.

Coping with Emotional Challenges

While caring for her father, Pauline encountered emotional hurdles as she battled depression and isolation. She took the initiative to engage her father in activities tailored to his needs, such as joining the Stroke Support Station (S3) at the Enabling Village. Despite the initial challenges of transportation, they found ways to overcome obstacles, ensuring her father had opportunities for social interaction and engagement.

Balancing Personal Needs with Caregiving

Pauline realised the importance of self-care in her role as a caregiver. Over time, she learned to navigate the guilt and worry associated with taking breaks and pursuing personal interests. She found a delicate balance between caring for her father and building her own life. By acknowledging her efforts and allowing herself to rest and recharge, she discovered renewed strength and resilience.

Unveiling a Supportive Community

Throughout her journey, Pauline discovered the invaluable support offered by various social organisations. Entities like AIC and the Stroke Support Station played instrumental roles in providing financial assistance, training grants, and opportunities for social interaction. These organisations strive to ease the burdens of caregivers and offer them a sense of community, reminding them that they are not alone in their caregiving journey.

In conclusion, Pauline Teo’s story exemplifies the challenges, sacrifices, and triumphs of being a caregiver. Her determination to provide the best care for her father, while also taking care of her own needs, is an inspiration. As we raise awareness of the caregiver’s journey, let us remember the vital role they play in the lives of their loved ones. Together, we can build a compassionate society that supports and uplifts caregivers in their time of need.

At SG Assist, we understand the evolving needs of caregivers. That’s why we provide comprehensive resources, support, and care services to assist you in your caregiving journey. Visit our websites at SG Assist and CareConnect, and explore our Caregiver Resource Centre – Singapore’s first centre dedicated to caregivers – to access the tools and assistance you need. Don’t forget to join our mailing list here to stay updated with the latest news and resources. Remember, you are not alone – we are here to support you every step of the way.

Story was adapted from Today’s Online, Gen Y Speaks: My dad’s stroke thrust me into a caregiver’s role at 24. Caring for him became my everything