The sandwiched generation - responsible for taking care of their ageing parents and young children - will benefit most from legislated eldercare leave and government financial assistance ("Should S'pore legislate eldercare leave?"; last Saturday).
Today's families are much smaller, so caregiving duties cannot be spread out.
Most caregivers are in their prime working years, with some having young children or thinking of starting a family. Many delay parenthood because caring for their elderly parents takes up significant resources.
Those who cannot afford to hire full-time help have to sacrifice career and family to care for the elderly indefinitely.
In the end, some are left financially devastated, emotionally burned out, and often begin their own journey into their twilight years alone and lacking care themselves.
Rising health-care bills are a financial burden.
For lower-income households without private insurance, Medisave and MediShield are insufficient to defray the costs of caring for the elderly.
Patients and their families can see their savings wiped out by chronic illnesses.
Children must dip into their own retirement funds to pay the medical bills when their elderly parents have emptied their own accounts.
The Government should give financial assistance to those caring for the frail elderly, and rethink the public health-care funding model.
The elderly will benefit when their carers have balanced and fulfilling lives, and relieving part of their financial burden can diminish a significant source of stress.
Legislating eldercare leave will create a compassionate society and send the message of "family first".
Perhaps a scheme similar to the baby bonus for new parents can be implemented for those caring for the frail elderly.
Jaclyn Toh Ai Lin (Dr)
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