Celebrating Caregiving

 

About the 2017 Model Caregiver Awards

Forty exemplary family caregivers from all walks of life were recognised at the 2017 Model Caregiver Awards presentation ceremony officiated by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health. About 280 guests including caregivers’ families and friends, as well as professionals from the social and health sector attended the ceremony at The Grassroots Club earlier this afternoon.

The biennial Awards saw the highest participation since its inception in 2007, counting 66 nominations from 18 agencies across the Intermediate and Long-term Care (ILTC) and Social Service sector. Organisations, from which 40 recipients were selected across the 5 categories – Model Caregiver (Individual), Model Pioneer Caregiver, Model Caregiving Domestic Helper, Young Model Caregiver and Model Caregiving Family.

Of these, 10 were recognised with the Model or Merit awards, while 30 received commendations. A significant development this time is the prominence of male family caregivers receiving four individual awards (Model Caregiver Award, Model Pioneer Caregiver and the Merit Awards in the Pioneer and Young Caregiver categories).

Initiated by AWWA Caregiver Service in 2007, the organisation of the awards process took on a collaborative sector-wide approach this time. AWWA worked with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), as well as four community partners – Caregivers Alliance Limited (CAL), Movement for the Intellectually Disabled Singapore (MINDS), St. Luke’s Eldercare and Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities (THKMC).

Here are the names of award recipients for 2017 Model Caregiver Awards:

 

Model Caregiver Award (Individual)
Award Position Name of Recipient Nominated By 
Model Caregiver Award Ang Beng Hui (Hong Minghui) Institute of Mental Health (IMH)
Model Caregiver Merit Award Siriporn Intah AWWA Ltd
Model Caregiver Commendation Award Salbiyah binte Tukimen Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Marsiah binte Sadikom AWWA Ltd
Png Yan Chu Autism Association (Singapore)
Nagajothi d/o Marimuthu SIA-MINDS Employment Development Centre
Chin York Chin Rainbow Centre
Hairiyah binte Salim AWWA Ltd
Zhan Qingzhao AWWA Ltd
Ratna Binte Mohamed Zain MINDS – Woodlands Employment Development Centre

 

 

 

Model Pioneer Caregiver Award
Award Position Name of Recipient Nominated By: 
Model Pioneer Caregiver Award Poh Khuat Alzheimer’s Disease Assocation (ADA)
Model Pioneer Caregiver Merit Award Kuharajahsingam Karalasingam Brahm Centre Ltd
Model Pioneer Caregiver Commendation Award Tan Gek Khim Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School
Loo Yoke Cheng Caregivers Alliance limited
Ho Soo Kia Alzheimer’s Disease Assocation (ADA)
Goei Lee Nah St Luke’s Eldercare
Poh Seok Har Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Fong Lin Hoe @ Fong Yuet Kwan Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore
Chew Ah Chew St Luke’s Eldercare
Zahara Binte Zainal Abidin Changi General Hospital

 

 

 

Model Young Caregiver Award
Award Position Name of Recipient Nominated By
Model Young Caregiver Award Lim Shu Ling MINDS – Woodlands Employment Development Centre
Model Young Caregiver Merit Award Lim Chun Jie, Eric Alzheimer’s Disease Association  (ADA)
Model Young Caregiver
Commendation Award
Louisa Wong Xi Yan MINDS – Woodlands Gardens School
Noor Fadilah binte Ahmad Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School (EIPIC)

 

 

Model Caregiver Award (Family Category)
Award Position Name of Recipient Nominated By
Model Caregiving Family Award Kamisah binte Mohd Daud Rainbow Centre, Margaret Drive School
Model Caregiving Family Merit Award Chua Siew Hin Jean National University Hospital
Model Caregiving Family Commendation Award Ruhama binte Halimi MINDS – Woodlands Gardens School
Durairaj Bhuvaneswari Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore
Mastura Khatoon d/o Shaik Jayadi Ali AWWA Ltd
Sebastian Tan St Luke’s Eldercare

 

 

 

Model Caregiving Domestic Helper Award
Award Position Name of Recipient Nominated By
Model Caregiving Domestic Helper Award Josefina Amparo Hosena Rainbow Centre, Margaret Drive School
Model Caregiving Domestic Helper Merit Award Sihni Hartanti Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS)
Model Caregiving Domestic Helper Commendation Award Sri Handayani Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School
Marilou Catanus Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA)
Helen Trayco Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA)
Neriza Domingo Villones Rainbow Centre –  Margaret Drive School
Sumarmi Buddhist Compassion Relief – Tzu Chi Foundation Singapore
Rasinah St Lukes Hospital
Mai Nuta Wi St Luke’s Eldercare
Novelero Fe Donato St Luke’s Eldercare

 

 

 


“I Will Not Let Anyone Hurt My Mom!”: A Filial Son, Ang Beng Hui Alex, 39, who Embarked on a Caregiving Journey for His Mother since He was 14 Years Old.

Mr Ang Beng Hui, 39, was attending kindergarten when his mother’s first bout of aggressive behaviour triggered by schizophrenia occurred. Concerned for his children’s safety, Beng Hui’s father arranged for Beng Hui and his two younger sisters to be brought up by their paternal grandparents.

At the age of 14, Beng Hui’s father started to prepare his son to assume the role of primary caregiver. He did so by learning from his father and reading widely on schizophrenia. Beng Hui became his mother’s sole caregiver after his father’s passing in 2014.  His two younger sisters, who have their own families, contribute by providing financial support as they have difficulties handling Mrs Ang’s challenging behaviour.

Beng Hui matured faster than most teenagers, balancing studies while caring for his mother.  He fastidiously ensured she never missed her doctor’s appointments and took the prescribed medications regularly.  Drawing support from nurses, doctors and social workers at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Beng Hui has become Mrs Ang’s protector. When neighbours reported her to the police for aggressive behaviour, he explained her condition to them and the police, taking the opportunity to educate them on mental illness.

Today, Beng Hui is an active participant in caregiver-related workshops at IMH focusing on mental health issues. He hopes the public would understand that one’s mental condition may trigger difficult behaviour in persons with mental illness, but that this may not be so if the mental illness is well managed.  When discussing long-term plans with IMH for Mrs Ang in 2013, despite nursing home placement being proposed as an option, Beng Hui chose to keep his mother at home. He engaged a domestic helper and gradually imparted his knowledge and skills to her, so she would be able to manage Mrs Ang’s behaviour.


For Better for Worse, for Richer for Poorer, in Sickness and in Health, to Love and to Cherish, till Death Do Us Part: The Touching Story of Mr Poh Khuat, 76, who is Caring for his Wife living with Dementia.

Mr Poh Khuat, 76, is sole caregiver to his wife of more than 40 years, Mdm Kang, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease more than 9 years back. Although Mr Poh was himself recently diagnosed with Stage 2 Lung Cancer, he remains single-minded in his desire to personally care for his wife, bouncing back into action within a short time after undergoing chemotherapy himself. The couple have 3 daughters and 1 son who do not live with them.

Despite his wife’s inability to walk or to recognise him since 2016, Mr Poh has taken this setback in his stride as he accepts the loss of function was inevitable. He remains stoic and committed to ensuring that Mdm Kang knows that she is being cared for and loved by him. Despite having hurt himself before when lifting her, he insists on personally caring for Mdm Kang as long as he is physically able, deferring suggestions to admit his wife into a nursing home.

Mr Poh has been outgoing and resourceful in seeking ways to keep his wife socially engaged. The couple have attended Memories Café at the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) regularly since it was initiated in 2016. He took pains to learn how to record video clips on his mobile phone in order to help Mdm Kang reminisce the activities she enjoyed at Memories Café. Mr Poh’s devotion to Mdm Kang and his gentle manner with others has touched fellow caregivers, volunteers and staff at ADA as well. They have been inspired by his patient and loving manner with his wife, as well as his generosity of spirit to engage other seniors with Alzheimer’s at the ADA Memories Café sessions.

Mr Poh’s resilience and patience in the face of Mdm Kang’s challenging behaviours stems from his full acceptance of her deteriorating condition which he realises is not reversible. Despite the exhaustion experienced in cleaning up after her and her challenging behaviour, Mr Poh seldom raises his voice or gets upset with his beloved wife. He notes pointedly that staying calm, focused and persevering is part and parcel of being a caregiver – and to get on to do what needs to be done.


“We have a Great Family”: Single Mum Kamisah and her Older Children (Firdaus and Nadrah) Will Overcome Any Caregiving Challenges for her youngest son, Putra.

Single-parent Mdm Kamisah brought up her 7-year old son, Putra, who is quadriplegic and has visual impairment, whilst caring for her two older children. Today, she is very proud of her close-knit family, especially at how her two older children, Firdaus,19, and Nadra,14, help shoulder the responsibility for Putra’s care and well-being with her.

Mdm Kamisah’s family works as a team, with everyone playing their part. Firdaus sends Putra to Rainbow Centre in the morning while Mdm Kamisah works the night shift at a factory. She fetches Putra home after school ends. Nadra plays with Putra when she comes home from school while her mum rests or cooks, and listens to songs with Putra to keep him engaged. Firdaus took a part-time job at a restaurant to help support the family. Asked how he balances caring for his brother with studying and time with friends, Firdaus concedes to struggling with it. He says, “You need to let go of your own fun time as family comes first”.
Things were not so harmonious when the family faced trying times in earlier years. Because Putra was from Mdm Kamisah’s second marriage, Firdaus and Nadra found it difficult accepting him as their brother. Things got worse after her second husband left the family. Firdaus and Nadra struggled to understand how Putra’s birth father could abandon him.

Mdm Kamisah remained steadfast in commitment to the family. She emphasised the importance of loving and supporting each other despite the odds the family faced. It was Mdm Kamisah’s strength and devotion to her family that moved Firdaus and Nadra. They learned how they could engage Putra and contribute to his learning and development. The arguments lessened with their acceptance of Putra as their own brother as they fully embraced caring for him in their mum’s absence.

Mdm Kamisah is an exemplary role model to her children. She consider her children her best friends. Both show maturity uncommon for people so young. Firdaus attributes his sense of responsibility to a realisation that he needs to care for the family, as no one else can or would. Mdm Kamisah says Putra has taught her to be strong. Her determination, resilience and willpower has rubbed off on her children, who reflect an optimism about life and unstinting love for their brother Putra whom they had struggled to accept when he was first born.


“He is Someone I am Very Very Proud of “:  The Story of a Sister, Lim Shu Ling Sherry, Caring for Her Brother who has Down Syndrome.

Ms Lim Shu Ling, Sherry, 29, is the elder sister of Lim Kian Say, 26, who has Down Syndrome. Sherry is very involved in his life although her parents are the main caregivers. She represents the family at DSA (Down Syndrome Association) events and alternates with her parents to accompany Kian Say for lessons and activities.

Kian Say is currently undergoing training for employment in MINDS – Employment Development Centre. Although Kian Say is ‘high functioning’ and does not require assistance with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), he requires a companion when going to unfamiliar places. Sherry devotes time on Saturdays to send Kian Say for bowling lessons while her mother fetches him home.

Sherry describes her relationship with Kian Say is being very close. They speak nightly when she returns home from work as she welcomes Kian Say into her room to chat about his day. Sherry has fully embraced caring for Kian Say and has never considered him a burden. She admits that she has been shaped by the experience to being a patient person. Sherry’s concern about Kian Say’s future has influenced her decision to purchase a 5-room flat as her matrimonial home, so that her home will be big enough for her family and Kian Say as well.

Sherry has become an ardent advocate for people with Down Syndrome and special needs. She often brings Kian Say out and introduces him to her friends so that they learn more about such congenital conditions. She is hopeful that with growing acceptance of people with special needs in Singapore, more can be done to be a more inclusive society.

Sherry intends to harness her status as an award recipient to advocate for people with Down Syndrome especially. She is keen to nurture ‘high functioning’ people with Down Syndrome like Kian Say to be paired as buddies to ‘low-functioning’ ones. Sherry feels that such initiatives will benefit those who are ‘low-functioning’, as well as people like Kian Say, who will gain the satisfaction and affirmation in giving to others in the process.

For her passion in advocating for people with Down Syndrome, Ms Sherry Lim intends to be an inspiration to many in the special needs community and beyond.


“I want to See Leona Grow Up and Get Married”: Josefina Amparo Hosena, a Remarkable and Dedicated Domestic Helper, who cares for little Leona.

As a baby, Leona Heng could barely move a muscle when Ms Josefina Amparo Hosena, 40, came to work for her family. Leona, now 3, had been diagnosed with Edwards’ Syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition which disrupts children’s development. Leona had just undergone a complex surgical operation when Josefina joined the Heng family.

She recalls feeling apprehensive due to Leona’s fragile condition. She overcame that by learning attentively, mastering the precise requirements for Leona’s feeds using PEG tubes and ways to aid her development. Noting Leona’s stillness at night, Josefina offered to have Leona sleep with her. Taking the initiative to place Leona in different sleeping positions, this helped develop Leona’s neck muscles.
Mr and Mrs Heng’s confidence in Josefina is exemplified by their having returned to the workforce and entrusting Josefina to care for Leona by herself. Josefina travels to Leona’s school by public transport when her parents are unable to drive them there. Josefina travels one hour by MRT with Leona in a stroller while carrying three bags with feeding and other equipment for Leona. She waits to board a less crowded train and focuses fully on Leona during the journey, taking in stride people staring and commenting at them.

Josefina is creative, resourceful and exercises initiative all the time. As Leona is prone to vomiting after meals due to gastric reflux, Josefina distracts Leona by creating sounds to distract Leona from her impulse to throw up. Josefina shows genuine love and devotion for Leona; as she willingly sacrifices her weekend time-off to spend time with Leona and her sister Leia.

She emotionally recalls an upsetting time when Leona was admitted to hospital in critical condition. It was a full two minutes before she started breathing again. Josefina screamed as the doctor was unable to attend to Leona immediately. She recalls felt tremendous relief when Leona was finally transferred stable to the ICU. “She came back to us,” Josefina recalls with tears of joy in her eyes.

Josefina concedes it would be much easier looking after a typical child. But caring for Leona and seeing her develop has been life-affirming as she is making a significant difference in a very special child’s life. One she cares for like her own. The Heng family truly cherish having an angel like Josefina in their home.


 

 

The 2017 Model Caregiver Awards are made possible by:

 

Organised by:

 

Supported by:
        

 

Sponsored by:
 

 

 

Community Partners: