“Rise in demand for eldersitters” in Today’s Straits Times

For some of us, we are still fit, healthy and mobile.  For some of us, we probably have difficulties leaving our house, and may be seriously feeling lonely at home.  ST reported that more households seek services that provide companionship for elderly members.  I am sure some of you have relatives and friends who are lonely at home, and in need of company; someone to chat with, share TV dramas together, need help with feeding or maybe just at home waiting for their sons and daughter-in-laws to return from work.

Even those with maids and family members at home may need to take some time off to go off for short errands and attend to children’s qactivities, thus leaving the senior at home.

Providing companionship to seniors can also include playing cards together, helping to prepare an afternoon tea or helping with simple basis exercises. It is interesting to read that most seniors who require companionship during certain day hours, prefer Singaporeans, as we have a better understanding of languages, dialects and culture.  Another preference reported was the age range of 35 to 55, as this group understands seniors better.

Such services will increase in demand, as the baby boomers get older in Singapore.  Service rates are around $20 per hour.  With many family adults working today, our aging population will definitely need companionship and some home care in our homes.  Like in our Asian culture, we looked after our children when they were young.  For some families, we may have the luck to have our children looking after us.  For others, we may want to live our SilverHairs years alone.

I hope to read your feedback and comments on this story.  It is in the STraits Times, Home, Part B.  Some of your feedback, thoughts, ideas and suggestions may be beneficial to government and institutional bodies.  We may be able to pick up some good follow up ideas from here. Please respect the views of other members.

Latest:

From your feedback, there is a niche demand for eldersitters or elderly companionship services, on a one-to-one.  We also need to gauge if we have sufficient numbers to start an eldersitter servoice from within SilverHairsClub.  If you would like to be an eldsersitter, under the umbrella of SilverHairs Enterprise and SilverHairsClub, please send me an email at  admin@SilverHairsClub.com, expressing your interest.  We would initially work on a first come basis. 

Terence Seah 

43 thoughts on ““Rise in demand for eldersitters” in Today’s Straits Times

  1. Hi Terence,

    This can be developed into a Social Biz Unit for SHEPL since SHC has a ready pool of “potential” eldersitters and has an extended reach to other “elders” outside the SHC umbrella…

    SHC has a very distinct advantage – 99% of members are Singaporeans (I stand corrected on this).

    This “project” can be funded via “corporate members” and other external entities (both private and garmen)…just need a bit of co-ordination to put the package together within SHEPL and work on it to solicit fundings…..

    What say you and the 15 members who had expressed interest in joining SilverHairs Enterprise PL??

    p/s: SHEPL = SilverHairs (Social) Enterprise Pte Ltd.

  2. Ivan, I like your idea too. We will keep this Post active. There are many senior Singaporeans who live their SilverHairs years alone; with no one to play cards with, and no one to talk with during daylight hours. Everybody is busy; sons, daughters, daughter-in-laws and relatives.

    I am on the lookout for SHC members with experience and interests in offering companionship services to seniors in Singapore, as described in the Post.

    For info, SilverHairs Enterprise will take the abbreviation “SHE”.

    Terence Seah

  3. “Kudos to you &amp. Let’s build a better world!!! cheers!”

    Should read as ‘kudos to you & God bless you’

    I hope the moderator wake up pleae & at least hv the decency to email me to inform me of the change.

    The change to “amp” might cause missunderstanding between Frisna & me.

    please take note. thank you.

  4. Hi Terence! The setting up of an eldersitter service by NTUC will generate a lot of interest from women, either married or single and who cannot work full-time. The hourly rate of $20 is also very attractive.I do wonder though, how much % will NTUC take from the service providers.

    If SHE can also offer this kind of service, the advantage will be 99% of SHC members are multi-lingual and educated. I believe SHE will also earn a commission but hopefully it’ll be lesser than NTUC’s.

    Eventually the maid agencies might even offer eldersitter services.

    Personally, I am game to do this kind of work. Not on a regular basis but ad-hoc. It’ll be an eye-opening experience for us who might one day be in need of such services ourselves. :p

    Cheers
    Ros

  5. Hi Rosalind #4,
    I am pleased to hear you see this “Eldersitters” as a service ideally suited to Singapore seniors, and provided by some members of SilverHairsClub. I shall be organising a meeting this month to facilitiate moving ahead with this service.

    Hi AmyK,
    I am very pleased that you had pulled me aside during the last monthly gathering at Hans, for a chat on launch a “companion” service for Seniors, as described in the Post.
    Your ideas and suggestions, I have written down. Again, I would like to invite you to the meeting when I set the date.

    Hi Sam,
    I have other ideas for you, but I am impressed with how you are taking care of your mother and how you worked with charities. I like your ideas, and will want to draw you in into this service too.

    For those who are interested in participating in this “Companion” service for elders, I look forward to hearing from you here. This project will come under SilverHairs Enterprise PL.

    Terence Seah

  6. Just to share my 2 cents worth of thoughts on “eldersitters”.

    From my understanding NTUC provide day care centre services and “eldersitters’ is just a small part of their comprehensive services for the elderly.

    If you have an elderly relative, would you pay $20 an hour for such services? I for one would not. My mother requires such services and we send her to a day care centre for 3 times a week (8.30 am to 3.30 pm) which cost us $435 (excluding extra services such as physiotherapy). The centre provide a lunch + tea breaks, exercise routines, mental activities etc. If you stay in 3 rm HDB flat, it would cost around $300 a month.

    Other than NTUC there are quite a few organizations providing day care centre services.

    Eldersitting services may be suitable for a very niche market during festive sessions and may not be a regular service require by your next door neighbours as most of them have a maid at home. If they do require regular eldersitting services, day care centre will provide a more comprehensive services and at a more affordable rate.

  7. Hi Steven #6,

    Your sharing and feedback on elder care service is very useful, and knock some senses into launching such a service on a one-one basis. Any other experiences of yours using such services? Do you think the $435 per month rate acceptable to most families?

    I look forward to hearing from other members with their experiences on such services.

    Terence Seah

  8. #06 Steven,

    I agree that eldersitter services will be for a niche market only. There are family members with deep pockets who already have more than one or two maids at home. However, when it comes to provision of companionship to an elderly member in the family, communication with the maid might be a problem. Furthermore, the family member who has taken in their elderly parent might need and even prefer a local eldersitter around when they travel or are at work.
    Currently, there are many older folks left at home with a maid in attendance. The maid will do the perfunctory duties in tending to the basic needs of the elderly such as cooking and feeding and taking him/her for a walk in a wheelchair. There is hardly any communication even though the elderly is still mentally alert.
    There are already people utilizing this service so in time, I foresee there will be a demand, albeit not for a permanent full-time basis.

  9. halo rosalind ,

    de course look so tempting for me to go for it…but timing not rite..will check with them abt any new date which i am keen to learn more about it.i am keen to find out any course for the yr 2012…

    terence .

    i am game for any things , if it suit my liking lah.
    my mama is in nursing home for few years ..so far more or less de basic one is nothing new to me..

    i , leave it to you for any assignment ya..
    2day saturday liao…cheong ah to buy 4d liao..

    sam huat huat huat

  10. I totally agreed with Rosalind.

    There are quite a number of people who have very deep pockets and prepared to pay whatever amount of money to save their time to get other people to perform the tasks for them.

    However it will be a tedious effort to find such people who not only have tons of money and prepare to pay for the services. Most people in Singapore do have some money but are not prepare to pay for the services at your asking price. These people look for cheap and good – people like me who will always find and locate a similar or even better services at a more affordable price. Maybe there are quite a number of people in SHC who have deep pockets and prepare to pay for the services. It will then be a dream business for SHE.

    The government is also scaling up the provision of elderly day care services to cater to the aging population and provide subsidy to NGOs to set up such services.

    Maybe it would be good to be a “eldersitter” to understand the market, problems, pricing, demands and supply etc before branching into such a service.. It would unwise to go into such a service based on an article from ST which normally massage the contents to make it appealing to increase their readerships.

  11. Daycare centres look after the elderly during daylight hours at a fixed centre, with common facilities and services. Do you have experience with one to one, and at the home of the senior?

    Terence Seah

  12. I personally see eldersitter service as one suitable for SHC members of both sexes who can avail themselves for a few days a week to keep an invalid company. For male invalids a male eldersitter will be most suitable as then they can engage in ‘men talk’, play board games, etc. A male invalid might even find it more comfortable for another male to tend to his baths, changing of adult diapers and/or cleaning of soiled clothings. Likewise, a female invalid will definitely prefer a female eldersitter. This job demands good pay because it is one that not many people will want to do. Most people will feel queasy about wiping buttocks smeared with faeces. It helps to undergo a course that teaches us how to do it the right and dignified way.

  13. Terence, I’d like to use my deceased mum as an example. Prior to her passing she was in and out of hospitals for more than two weeks every month for several months. She had an excellent Indonesian maid who was willing to bathe and clean her up. However, old sickly or even ambulant old people have a tendency not to sleep well so very often in the nights, my mum would wake her maid up to change diapers or to have a drink. Maids need their rest and if they cannot get it in the night, the very most family members should do is to ensure she gets some sleep in the day. THIS is where eldersitters come in.

  14. My opinion is that there is a demand for this service and the demand will increase over time. Singaporeans are getting older and richer. Many family caregivers are busy and also need a break from their caregiving routines. At $20 an hour I think many can afford for at least a few days a week particularly on weekends.

    The bigger challenge is to find ‘eldersitters’. Presumably these are older people eligible to be SHC members. So it is appropriate to find out here if anyone wants to be eldersitters and what service they are willing to perform. My guess is there will be many who wants income as advisors, managers and administrators. A few may be willing to be investors but none are willing to clean faeces.

    I am writing this hoping that someone would tell me that I am wrong and organize such a service here. I may be your first customer….not for myself but for my mother-in-law.

  15. I fully agreed with what Tian Soo and Steven has written.

    The article appeared in the Straits Times were too well written.

    Dealing with elders drain one emotionally, mentally or physically. I used to deliver adults diapers to the seniors who stay at their own home. I did have a lot of small talks with the caregivers, either the family members or the maids. Whether good or bad experiences/encounters I listened, it always make my heart heavy after every small talk.

    There is great potential in ‘eldersitter’ services and what Steven written is important… understand the market, problems, pricing, demands and supply etc before branching into such a service.

    I seldom write, but the subject does concern me when I reach there …..

    Yoon Chin

  16. We have feedback on the the mental and physical strains placed on the care giver. At our age, most of us have experienced looking after our eldery parents. Thus, at some stage, our turn will come too.

    Very soon, Singapore will be saddled with the burden of an elderly population. At some stage, the pressure will be on us to care for our elderly parents, and in no time, this pressure will shift to the younger generation.

    This Post aims to open the subject of providing companionship and other eldersitting services to Seniors in Singapore, with these services being provided by Seniors too.

    From the feedback so far, Rosalind, Andrew, Amy and Tian Soo see a demand for such services, and Steven has cautioned on the high service rates.

    At this stage, we are not looking at a nursing home or a daycare centre.

    Let’s say if SilverHairs Enterprise embarked on providing one-to-one eldersitting service, will we have eldersitters. So far, Ros has indicated interest.

    I took seriously what Tian Soo said. Will there be members willing to go through the emotional and physical pains of being an elderly companion for a few days or hours.

    I believe the success of this project is dependent upon supply and demand. Looking at existing services in Singapore and other developed countries, there is demand, but is there supply in our society? Or do we land up in a situation where we have to bring in foreign labour?

    I am keen to bring this project to fruit, if there are members interested to provide eldersitting services to other seniors in Singapore. Do let me know on this forum or via email.

    Terence Seah

  17. I believe LONELINESS is the main suffering/pain of an elderly invalid, hence for this elderly invalid’s family members to provide him/her with an elder-sitter, I would consider this a blessing to the invalid elderly.

    It then becomes important to spell out the ROLE of an elder-sitter so that he/she will know generally what is expected of him/her as an elder-sitter. Anything else he/she does beyond and above what is expected will be a bonus (and a blessing)to the recipient and his/her family members.

    AS this elder-sitting is a PAID, COMPETITIVE, service, it is in the interest of the company (SHE) and the elder-sitter to consciously build up a good REPUTATION in order to be on top of the competition.

    *****
    Time for something light. An optimist waiting to die…

    ” Do you remember when i told you Ted Koppel (TV host) that pretty soon someone was gonna have to wipe my ass?” he said.
    I laughed. You don’t forget a moment like that.
    “Well, i think that day is coming.That one bothers me.”
    Why?
    “Because it’s the ultimate sign of dependency. Someone wiping your bottom. But I’m working on it. I’m trying to enjoy the process.”
    Enjoy it?
    “Yes. After all, I get to be a baby one more time.”…”

    (Quoted from “tuesdays with Morrie”. Doubleday, page 49)

  18. I think for the senior Singaporeans who live their SilverHairs years alone but are not invalid or too weak, we can think out of the box and make the service special from the usual home setting or day care, by bringing them out (wheelchairs) to the parks, eat at malls – just look at the make-overs at the malls. Buildings are getting more and more wheelchair-friendly nowadays. This should be most welcoming especially during festive seasons. And there are more and more special toilets made for those wheelchair-bound. I think the elderly generation of the coming years are more open to change and will not mind being chaperoned outside for walks instead of being confined to the 4 walls of the home all the time. But of course there may be constraints how to start out – family car, wheelchair friendly buses, taxis. Does it sound bizarre, is it safe? What if they fall outside? Or to be on safe side, just keep the service to the confines of the home? Just brainstorming.

  19. Hi SusanT #19, Good ideas on what eldersitters can do. I like the part about offering services like bringing them to the malls, and watching the world around us. I think that children would love to be able to bring their elderly parents out too, if one they have the time.

    Jassmine, I too share the same concern that many elderly people face loneliness, within the 4 walls day-in day-out. In the past, we only have television. I remembered my maid use to put my mother in front of the TV. She would stare at the box the whole day. But, today, we have internet. Would it be nice to have an eldersitter playing online games with me, when I cannot walk and my childern are at work the whole day?

    Terence Seah

  20. Hi Terence

    I agreed with Rosalind #13 and Lim Yoon Chin #16.Beside those written in the post and not to mention light housekeeping services : dusting,sweeping and mopping floors,cleaning bathroom,cleaning kitchen after cooking and taking out the trush.It is true that not many people will want to do this type of job. It’s not easy I know because I am in this trade.

    Grace Kang

  21. From your feedback, there is a niche demand for eldersitters or elderly companionship services, on a one-to-one. We also need to gauge if we have sufficient numbers to start an eldersitter servoice from within SilverHairsClub.

    If you would like to be an eldsersitter, under the umbrella of SilverHairs Enterprise and SilverHairsClub, please send me an email, expressing your interest. We would initially work on a first come basis.

    Terence Seah

  22. This is just a sharing of my observations and views on retirement living based on living in Singapore and Perth. One’s personal mindset is crucial in how you live as a retiree. Here are a few cases of people I know. They range from sixties to even eighties.
    One lives in a unit in a retirement village or home which he had bought. Residents there are still active and can participate in the various organised activities eg dancing, gym workouts, bowls etc especially among fellow residents in the village. Meals can be catered for or self-cooked. One must enjoy the company of other residents. As they get older, they then progress to a hostel or a nursing home sometimes within the complex. By then, they would have established themselves within the community and made friends.
    For others who live in their homes, they join in community activities eg volunteers for various organisations eg meals on wheels, Vinnies, hospitals etc or just join social groups eg golf, bowls, travel, walking groups depending on their interests. For them, a chance to be going out of the house and enjoying the day or morning in an activity they like especially in good company is worth looking forward to every week. As they get older and are unable to leave the house on their own, there are people who come in to bathe them, clean the house, cut the lawn, do their shopping or if they are care-givers, provide them with respite care so that they can have time off whilst the person they care for, is taken care of. This is an excellent arrangement as generally most want to be at home rather than in a nursing home. In Australia, the money from their pension is used to pay for all these services. There is subsidy from the government.
    Such services above can be provided by eldercare service, if introduced in Singapore. I think there are daycare services here which provide services but these are outside the home.
    How one sees retirement living and finally old age living comes from wanting to lead a full within one’s ability, less stressed and comfortable life, within one’s means. It can be a simple life, among good friends and keeping oneself healthy.

    Joan Wong

  23. In Singapore, you live in your own HDB flat, condo apartment, landed property or with your children when you are at that age.

    If you’re unable to take care of yourself, then it’s a home of some sort depending on the money you have available.

    In Australia, you can opt for a retirement village which is actually like a huge township (see Robina Town in Melbourne) where entertainment and sports facilities, shops, medical services are all geared to serve the residents like what Joan wrote.

    We are a long way away from the Australians and I do not think it will ever materialise in Singapore simply because we do not have a social net or pension beyond our CPF. I just heard that a friend who resides in Oz had a small annex built to his house for his mother to stay completely free of charge by the state.

    Is it no wonder that a lot of Singaporeans migrate there?

  24. To everybody who has participated with interest in the subject of providing services to Seniors in Singapore, and to those who have been following on the sidelines,

    We have all seen our parents through their old age; we have cared for them and we have seen the tough days. To those who are looking after their parents, we know how challenging it is juggling time, costs and effort. Our time will also come. So will the rest of Singaporeans as age comes along.

    Many young Singaporean families can afford maids to look after their elderly parents. But, the daughters and sons cannot always be with their elderly parents all the time; there are times, the folks have to be alone at home. They need company.

    Folks like us, may still be active; we need to go out, meet friends and have some independence of our own. Under the Blue Helmet concept, we try to to continue to work, not all the time, but perhaps part-time.

    If you have eldercare experience, and would like to be an Eldersitter under the SilverHairs Enterprise umbrella, please email to me at terences@silverhairsclub.com.

    If you can contribute to being in the working group to launch this Eldersitters project, please also email me.

    For those without experience, you can also email me for consideration.

    Terence Seah

  25. #25 terence ah hiah ,

    yes . pls count me in …i can make them laugh ,accompany them to any where clean up 4 them aso..no big deal..as my mama is still in nursing home..i ve seen lots of them nid companion lah…i , dare to say i..ve some little basic kung fu in these lol///oops..wat no lah…skill lah….

    keeping my fingers xxxx…sam huat huat huat

  26. #26 Sam,

    Wah Sam, if I see you I’ll give you a hard thump on your back. Yes eldersitters can be men as well. In fact,it is better for a male eldersitter to take care of a male elderly person. Sam you must go gym and workout hor…skarli kana one tua kong size client – fat and heavy how?

    I am a person who buay kia si try new things and I’m so glad to have like-minded friends like you in SHC.

    Cheers
    Ros

  27. I am very encouraged by the response an Eldsersitter service, and would like to share some of the feedback.

    Feedback #1:
    I hands up! But I can only do it on an ad-hoc basis…that is, when I am in Singapore and not travelling and only for a few days per week between 9 am – 4 pm. It’s unlikely anyone will want to pay for more than 5 hours per day and that is fine with me. At the very least, the client must book for minimum of 4 hours and not exceeding 6 hours per session.

    I am game to try this out without having to sign a contract stipulating I must tend to a particular client 
    (the elderly person) for a long time. What happens if he/she and me don’t click? 

    I have a Diploma in Health Science- Nutrition.

    I do not know if I am suitable for eldersitting but if I don’t try, how would I know, right? Cooking nutritional meals; taking care of the client’s personal hygiene and coming up with ideas to entertain the client are okay with me. I just hope I don’t get a client who suffers from dementia and accuses me of
    stealing jewellery/cash! Scaryyyyy……… 

    Anyway, SHE will probably protect me and make the client sign an indemnity form I hope.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    —-
    Feedback #2:
    Please keep me in the loop, though I have an elderly sister to take care too. She has serious rheumatoid and she is looking for someone to help her too….
    like running grocery errands near her estate.

    —-
    Feedback #3:
    The proposal of the services to seniors and elderlies is a great and I am interested to be of service when the club is ready or need my assistance.

    I am active and can provide server al services including mediation, stress relief ing coaching. listening/chatting and singing karaoke and etrc

    —-
    Feedback #4:
    I wud like to be updated on this idea development. Currently I m still in the workforce holding a very senior position but will b retiring in 4years time.
    I have no experience with looking after the elderly but I m a good listener, speaks well n is able to counsel well.

    —-
    Feedback #5:
    Will be glad to volunteer.

    —-
    Feedback #6:
    I am more interested in playing games like RUMMY O and MEXICAN TRAIN to keep the elderly company. 
    I also play the erhu and would like to provide soothing music to the elderly if required. 

    Two of my friends are interested in being Elder sitters.

    Terence Seah

  28. Here are other comments, just received from members on an Eldersitter service.

    Feedback #7:
    I wish to be kept in touch with this development, however I am not particularly good in caring for the elderly, but still can ran errands or chating with them, helping with tea breaks or cooked some simple cake/ food, if need be.

    —-
    Feedback #8:
    I am still working full time and supporting an elderly mum, but do not mind in helping out with the meals and errands. Let me know date, time and venue.


    Feedback #9:
    This is timely as I’ve this problem, particularly being single & know of other singles having this problem too.

    I needed help like them & esp those who r less well off who can’t afford maids & even hv to quit their jobs to look after aged parents.

    —-
    Feedback #10:
    Good to know that the SilverHairsClub is considering
    providing companionship service for the elderly.

    —-
    Feedback #11:
    Yes, this looks like a good and healthy thing to do. And I would certainly like to offer my services as an Eldersitter.

    Briefly, I was a teacher. I retired in 2006, and I am now 63. I do have some time to spare to help those in need of getting help to spend some time with their elderly folk. 

    I can speak Hokkien and English but not fluently in Mandarin. I was previously heavily involved in IT work as well, so I could also teach them basic use of IT as well.

    Whatever it is, I hope to offer some form of companionship to them in their hour of need or in some other small ways e.g. like delivering meals to them, etc.

    My wife is also interested. She can speak Cantonese. She is also a retired teacher, and would be willing to help out too.

    —-
    Feedback #12:
    You are inspired reading ST just a day ago? I thought it is a wonderful idea! Elderly ppl understand each other’s needs better.

    I am trained in eldercare which support home care environment. Currently looking after my Mom who is discharged from hospital with medical condition & not quite mobile. We are assisted by 2 maids. Eldersitter provides company & mental simulations to older folks which is a win-win situation. There are a few companies in the market providing such service. 

    —-
    Feedback #13:
    I don’t think I can provide nursing care but am interested in companionship services or be kept in touch with developments. I still travel, spending 2-3 months at each place. So it will be mainly casual and ad-hoc. Areas include: walks, sightseeing drives, shopping and assist with preparation of tea/meals.

    —-
    Feedback #13:
    Yes I agreed with you on your Eldersitter project. I really keen to help out but have no experience.

    I m 69yrs male strait born chinese living with my wife. I m physically active, i do go to the gym twice a week and do light work out. How can I help.

    —-
    Feedback #14:
    I am interested in the eldersitting services mentioned. I am 64 and retired for some 3 years. I could provide all the services listed including cleaning. Do let me know once you have finalized the services you wish to provide.

    Terence Seah

  29. More SilverHairs have given their feedbackback to providing Eldersitter services. I attach some of the feedback and comments.

    Feedback #15:
    Is a great idea!!! I myself had taken care of my mother and aunt.  Even with helper we still need someone around .
     
    Would be interested to know more abt the development.

    —-
    Feedback #16:
    I am exploring this project as well.
     
    Will be glad to join your discussion, please keep me posted. I am keen on this project and think may have a niche in Singapore greying population.
     
    —-
    Feedback #17:
    Thank you for the invitation with regard to Eldersitters development in SHC. I wrote in this particular subject because I have been thru it and I like to share. I looked after both my parents for many years till they migrated to the land of nobody knows.
     
    I volunteer to help seniors – I was trained as a hotline ‘counsellor’. The job is listening and empathise to lonely elderly at home thru telephone. Now I volunteer once a week at the Singapore General Hospital as a Guider, especially looking out for senior patients who get lost in the hospital. Gosh ! I pointed to the right direction, they walked to the left !! Sometime it is fun….

    Ongoing I have signed up with the Health Promotion Board this year, to be a Senior Health Ambassador. Training is vigorous and ongoing, but its all free and very knowledgeable.
     
    I won’t want to be an eldersitter but I will gladly share in areas I am familiar with, whenever possible, as I am still working.

    —-
    Feedback #18:
    I am interested to be an Elder sitter. I have experience as I am presently the sole caregiver aside from my Indonesian maid. Both my parents
    have their own illnesses.

    I am now presently working as an care teacher in a private childcare centre.

    —-
    Feedback #19:
    It’s  a pleasure to work as a Eldersitter under the umbrella of SilverHairs Enterprise.In fact I have interest for elderly people to be able to understand and help them.

    I have been taking care of my parents for quite some time before hiring a maid,so working closely in a one-to-one setting and provide companionship to seniors are no problem.

    I worked in a Nursing Home before as a Health Care Assistant and at present  working part-time as a Caregiver.

    So this is a brief detail and experience of myself and I hope to hear from you soon.

    —-
    Feedback #20:
    Thanks for your mail as its pretty challenging to venture into new areas of eldercare !
     
    I have volunteered in Eldercare and have been active in my own semi-retired life as my two boys have been out of the nest and my wife and me pursue different interest, She is into baking and i m into lots of outdoor and being a social Animal.

    —-
    Feedback #21:
    A member but not so active, as I am more busy in my grassroots volunteer work and also some tuition for My pocket money. My age 56, I would like to join your working group if possible. Please keep me inform.

    —-
    Feedback #22:
    I have doubt that an eldersitter service will take off in Singapore because of the fact that we all can employ a maid easily. Unless you are thinking of social escort service, which is different.

    However, there is demand for activity centre for elderly people, who have a lot of free time in their lives.

    An active centre will help make their lives meaningful. That is why we are all for active ageing.

    —-
    Feedback #23:
    Yes. I am with you and congratulate you for coming out with such an idea. “SilverHairs Enterprise Pte Ltd” which I take it to mean a business entity.

    I would like to be an “Eldersitter”. I would like to guide the elderly to play chess (International and/or Chinese) on line or against the computers. Once they get the hang of it, they may be left to play without help.

    Also if you need shareholders to put in money, I will like to participate.

    —-
    Feedback #24:
    The idea of “Elder sitter” is a timely one. I consider myself capable of being a service to dif folks of all ages. I am amiable, easy to get along with. This is an area of work I would like to consider in the near future. Do keep me posted of its development.

    —-
    Feedback #25:
    I do not know how you’re going to consolidate the kind of services that can be offered to the general public by SHC members but the following are some
    services that I’m sure the members might be interested to do on a part-time basis.

    1) House Sitting 
    When the owners and/or their entire family go away leaving their pets and plants uncared for. House sitters are hired and given the house keys to feed/clean the pet/pets and water the plants. If the pet is a dog, walking the dog will be part of the service offered.

    This will be an ad-hoc kind of assignment as it’ll from only an hour to two hours max to do the tasks. Depending on how long the house owner is away, the assignment can be on alternate days and a flat fee is charged. 

    For SHE, the member selected to do this will have to be the one staying closest to the client’s home as then transportation costs will be greatly reduced and hence, makes the job more viable and feasible.

    2) Child/children/maid Supervisor
    Some households have grandparents at home to supervise the young children and maid while the parents are out at work. Grandparents need a break from being house-bound and parents can engage the services of a surrogate ‘grandfather/grandmother’ to keep an eye on the maid and the young children at home. Again, this is an ad-hoc service or part-time service for young parents.

    This service might appeal to those young parents who cannot get their own parents to oversee how the maid tends to their young children. We’ve heard of child abuse by maids and all kinds of nonsense the maid can get into when there are no adults at home.

    Basically, what SHE can do is to link up the job to the SHC member staying closest to the client.

    For the eldersitter service, there is a need for busy children of an elderly person to hire the eldersitter to accompany the aged for hospital appointments. The waiting period for the aged in the hospital can
    be long and not all children can take leave to stay with their parent in the hospital. I recall in the case of my beloved mother – she had to see so many different specialists in the hospital for her various ailments and her appointments was like from once a month to once every three months. She was fortunate to have a trustworthy maid to keep her company and made sure she had food to eat BUT the maid did not know how to communicate with the doctors or report to my siblings and me what the doctor said about my mother’s conditions. THIS is where the eldersitter’s service is of help.

    —-
    Feedback #27:
    I don’t mind being counted as one but I’m available only after 3pm on weekdays.

    —-
    Feedback #28:
    I don’t really have much experience looking after elderly ppl.  Just that I do not mind putting aside some hours in a week to help out in whatever I can do for them. Please keep me posted of developments.

    —-
    Feedback #29:
    This is something which I had done, voluntarily, on my own, for the elderly poor from 1999 to 2006, on my own accord. Twice a month, on Fri. afternoon, I went over to the elderly visited their homes & those who can walk, I had tea with them at the void decks.

    I am keen on this project and I believe with my experience I can contribute. I also have another project in mind, for elderly, the retired professionals.
    —-
    Feedback #30:
    I read with interest your proposal to get involved in elder sitters service. My proposal will be

    a) to provide transport to bring seniors to see doctor for checkups at polyclinics or hospitals
    b) to keep company with seniors on request when caregiver takes a day off.
    c) to buy provisions or do tasks like paying bills on senior’s behalf.
    d) organise an outing for seniors- 1 day trip etc……

    I think the charges should not be tagged to commercial rates rather based on transport charges+ time spent and degree of difficulty of job.

    My wife and I have experiences dealing with seniors, being seniors ourselves as we are involved in lunch for the needy.

  30. Wow! Terence, you must be super excited to kick off this project! Good luck to SHE’s new venture.

    Cheers & Bottoms Up (I mean yum seng not lift up yr backside hor)
    Ros

  31. The discussion on an Eldersitters service has moved up another level. Here is the latest “Updates and Information on the eldersitters project under SilverHairs Enterprise P/L. – Structure and concept.”

    Last week, I had various discussions with you and other SHC members on the format and structure of how to move ahead with the Eldersitters project. To these members, thank you for your contribution. My appreciation to you for sharing your knowledge in this field of elderly services. The structure and concept processes are still on-going, and further finetuning is still needed.

    Do let me know your comments, especially re #13. Please indicate the S/No when comment. Thank you.

    The following concept and structure have been considered and likely to be used.

    1. Resources:
    * 1st 20 eldersitters to come from within SilverHairsClub.
    * Next batch also from SilverHairsClub and new comers who must also be SilverHairsClub members. New comers are likely to be recruited through advertising.
    * Key services include providing companionship, running simple errands, preparing simple meals, playing some games, etc. More thoughts below.
    * All SHE Eldersitters are required to put on identification name tags, during the period of service.

    2. Customers & clients:
    * Will come from members of the public. Target client groups are family members of the elderly.
    * No plans to include daycare centres and nursing services.
    * The task of securing a sizeable customer group is critical as the response is untested.

    3. Sales & Marketing:
    * Clients are secured mainly through advertising.
    * This is one of the largest expense in this project.

    3. Internet Booking reservation software:
    * All eldersitters to have a yearly calendar, on the web. Schedules show available slots by days and hours.
    * Eldersitters indicate their background skills, knowledge and experience.
    * Eldersitters must have a photo and indicate their name. Eldersitters must have access to the internet booking reservation system. All Eldersitters must be registered with SilverHairs Enterprise P/L.
    * Customers & clients must also be registered with SilverHairs Enterprise (Eldersitter service). They have web access to the same internet booking reservation system to make a service reservation.

    4. Payment by customers & clients:
    * Payment is made via Visa credit card, Paypal or Posb/DBS internet payment. An online receipt will be sent via email to the customer, upon payment.
    * All payments are payable to SilverHairs Enterprise Pte Ltd.

    5. Funding:
    * All capital expenses, start up costs and operating expenses will be provided by SilverHairs Enterprise P/L. Discussions on funding will be done with shareholders and directors only.

    6. Payment to Eldersitters and resource providers:
    * Via internet banking at Post/DBS bank account within the 1st week of following month.
    * Exact amount will be based on a formula, still been worked out. Subject to admin costs, advertising costs, insurance, etc.

    7. Training
    * Eldersitters have different skills, and clients may have different preferences.
    * Basic skills are listening and communication, to provide companionship services.

    8. Languages and dialects
    * Depending on individuals.

    9. Training and education knowledge:
    Some Eldersitters have special training, and they will also be advisers to the group.
    * Diploma in Health nutrition
    * Training in counselling
    * Health Ambassadors
    * Caregiver or Care teacher
    * Nursing background

    10. Some other skills of Eldersitters:
    Driving
    Cooking
    Light house work
    Games – Rummy-O, Mexican Train, chess, board games
    Music eg Erhu, guitar, organ, etc
    Simple exercises
    Fun activities
    Meditation
    Listening
    Chatting
    Karaoke
    Counselling
    Stress relief exercises, mental simulations
    Tea preparation
    Basic IT and net games

    11. Errands:
    grocery shopping
    Bring elderly to department store to look see the world
    Paying bills
    Delivering meals
    Bring Elderly to Hospital or polyclinic for appointments, communicate with doctors for check ups and report back to family
    Going to gardens or open space for fresh air

    12. Special day services:
    When caregivers or maids have their days off
    Day trip to somewhere, as requested by clients.
    Bring out for lunch eg dim sum, porridge.
    A common day out when Eldersitters can bring their client’s elderly to one gathering to meet other elderlies.

    13. Some areas still being reviewed:
    * Fees at market rates vs charging to cover transport and expenses. Or based on demand and supply, based on skills and needs?
    * How much to pay Eldersitters?
    * Accident insurance for those registered under SHE. How much to charge?
    * Some Eldersitters prefer to deal direct with clients. How to handle this group?

    Terence Seah

  32. While trying to find an application software for the clients to find suitable eldersitters, I find the “Service bookings and reservation system” capable of accepting other skills and services. I shall let my guys in India do some finetuning to the appointments calendar, before implenting it.

    Some of you may have noticed the “SHE service bookings and reservations calendar” on the left column of the website. This is not ready yet, but the concept is just about it.

    This reservations calendar will be open to the public, clients and SHE eldersitters.

    Terence Seah

  33. The eldersitters project will likely start 1 Mar 2012. We are in the process of organising the first 20 eldersitters from SHC. These members have emailed me their interests, experience and background re eldersitter services.

    For info, the focus will be on companionship services. For those who are interested and have not emailed me, I look forward to receiving an email from you on your interest.

    Terence Seah

  34. For those who have written to me and discussed the Eldersitting services, thank you for your latest feedback. The next step is to open the application of Eldersitters to members, prior to our advertising launch.

    At the moment, there are two ways we will take to proceed. While the Eldersitting business is not new, it has been around for years in the private arena. It has now become a growing need service in Singapore and developed countries.

    1. There are possibilities for govt funding. If we are able to secure govt funding, we will launch this project at a fast pace.

    2. If we do not, or unable to secure govt funding, we are likely to start at a slower pace, and test the market. It is likely we will adopt 2.

    On the type of services, we will definitely start with companionship services but not nursing or daycare activities. However, as some of you have more skills, training and experience, we will expand our services over time.

    For those who are interested in being an eldersitter, please read through this thread and write to me.

    SilverHairs Enterprise PL will focus on expanding part-time work opportunities for SilverHairs, and will take over the original objectives of the Blue Helmet project. As all of us are over 45, we have many years of experience, skills and knowledge. Despite the difficulties and lack of opportunities for the over 45s, we can do something for ourselves. Your ideas are always welcome.

    Terence Seah

  35. Hi everybody, here is an update on the Eldersitting service.

    1. We are more or less complete with the SilverHairs Enterprise service bookings and appointments calendar.

    Basically, this calendar allows clients and public to view all Eldersitters and the services they provide. If you had given me your details, please check that the info is as per what you have given me. Your information of address and services are entered by admin. Address only show street name and post codes. If you would like to send me details, please email them to me.

    2. We are not sure of govt funding, as the process is complicated.

    A. However, yes or no, we will proceed with offering eldersitters services to the public.

    B. If yes, we would probably be informed within the next month.

    3. Some of you have asked to participate in investment. Some have expressed annoyance that I have not raised this topic. This is another process which I am not pushing or looking at. This is due to the business risks involved in new ventures. Perhaps, in a year’s time, when we have a good degree of success, we may revisit this topic. However, if you have an idea and like to pursue investing in this project, feel free to write to me.

    4. The next step is to access the degree of training. I know some of you have the skills and experience. This is great. Even though, we start with services that are companionship, confidence and experience are valuable.

    We are still working on training with those who have discussed with me. One of the ideas which look good is to co-train with another eldersitter for a few days, before going solo.

    5. Now, I like to get to know you. If we can meet for an hour, it will be good. I have set aside some time.

    A. Thur 26 Jan, 11am at MPH Cafe, 11am, Robinson Road.
    B. Thur 26 Jan, 2.30pm at MPH Cafe
    C. Thur 26 Jan, 3.30pm at MPH Cafe.

    D. Fri 27 Jan, 9am at Singpost, Payalebar MRT
    E. Fri 27 Jan, 10am at Singapore, Payalebar MRT.

    Essentially to get to know you and the other way round, and understand the services you offer and your interest.

    Please look at the Services bookings and appointments calendar, see if you have given us your service description.

    For those who have responded me, and if we do get govt funding, you will be among the first to participate as a staff in the organisation.

    Have fun, as usual.

    Terence Seah

  36. Hi
    Wish to share my experience with 1 such company, perhaps to manage expectation of both d giving & receiving parties.

    My aged mum just returned from 1 of several hospital stays, weak, frail, depressed, etc. Had a maid who’s tired out cos at night need to get up several times to assist my mum’s bowel calls, etc.

    Went to a professional one who also offer disable aids, equipments, etc. Was told their staff r well trained, some ex-nurse, know practically every type of assistance (esp lifting up a heavy pax from a chair or bed, which was my special request), very professional, (another special request was to enable my maid to rest so she can handle d night tasks), etc.

    I signed a package for like half of d day time, weekdays. Several was assigned cos they can’t commit 1 pax due to their other assignments. I even provide meals so as not to waste their time getting food.

    What happened were tt all don’t know how to do what were expected, ordering my maid ard which added to her burden, sit ard doing their own things, coming late or leaving early, using my kitchenware yet don’t wash up but left to maid to wash, etc. They gave u more troubles than without them & I even paid for it! … sigh :(

    Hence, believe it’s good at d beginning to be frank to those who employ whoever to lay out what he/she wld/can wldn’t do, do what’re agreed upon mutually, be considerate & really help & not become added burden instead.

    I seriously hope this initiative will work out as this service is really needed by more & more families, & wld be most impactful to those who’re not so well off. Cheers

  37. Hi All

    I like to say this initiative is a good concept and it’s absolutely fine for Eldersitters to be paid. Why would they work for free? It’s not a charity event.

    That said and after reading Aeden’s experience (thanks for sharing), I hope our Eldersitters are professional as they go about their job.

    Also want to add that on the other spectrum, please bear in mind that not all old people are pleasant. Just know what you are getting into.

    All the best!

  38. Hi Aedan and Geraldine,

    I appreciate your encouraging and positive words. What you said is true. I like the part about “Not all old people are pleasant”. Wait until I reach 75.

    Terence Seah

  39. Well, Terence, you are horrible as it is.

    Can’t imagine what you’ll be like when you reach 75. Bigger asswipe? Kekekekee. Mwah.

  40. We will now launch the Eldersitter program for SHC members who would like to provide companionship services to elderlies in their homes. We will grow this project slowly under the SilverHairs Enterprise.

    While there is a demand for such care services for elderlies in the homes, we cannot be too sure of its success. But, we will give it a good. If you have experience handling elderlies, and have spare time during weekdays or weekends, and would like to support the growing ageing population by spending time with them in their homes, accompany them for hospital appointments or going out for fresh air, do drop me a note at terences@SilverHairsClub.com. Our eldersitter services are paid services.

    Online bookings of Eldersitters are available at http://www.SilverHairs-Enterprise.org.

    Terence Seah

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