Five Essential Skills in Foreign Domestic Helpers or Caregivers for Elderly Care

What To Look Out For In A Domestic Helper In Care for Elderly Care

The demand for elderly care is growing with each year in Singapore’s new norm of the aging population. Studies by Statista say that by 2035, it is estimated that around 32 percent of Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above, making up a third of the population. Therefore, in today’s modern societies, 1 out of 5 Singaporean households hire a full-time domestic helper and this trend is attributed to the prevalence of dual-income parents and a rising ageing population.


If the above is not of any indication, full-time domestic helpers have become fundamental to the smooth running of many Singaporean households. Of course there are several options such as sending your elderly to the aged homes, senior day care centre or hiring a domestic helper with experiences in elderly care, all of which are costly. However, with a starting salary of $450 a month, having a domestic helper who can be permanently available in the house to look after your elderly parents could be the best and most economical solution. Whilst you get the additional support to take care and accompany your elderly, at the same time she can also do many other things such as managing the household chores and cooking for the family.


Furthermore nowadays, there are many eldercare training courses available to send your domestic helper to be equipped with relevant skills in providing the best care for your elderly at home. For cases when special medical attention is required in taking care of the elderly, engaging in caregiver courses are highly recommended. There are also financial assistances by Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) such as Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) where a $200 monthly cash pay-out is given for the care of a loved one at home and Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) Levy Concession for Persons with Disabilities to aid in lowering the cost of caring for your loved one.


Everyone would agree that looking after the elderly requires a separate set of skills from that for child care. Aside from loving and having good experiences in handling elderly, we would like to share with you a few other good traits employers need to list down as criteria when looking for a domestic helper to care for your elderly parents and/or grandparents.


1. Good Ethics, Trustworthy & Caring

Majority of the time, a person’s personal qualities could weight more importance than any other skills. Of course, skills remain important. However, they are no longer predominant over everything else as with the right training and practices, skills can eventually be polished. A good way to detect these personality traits as early as possible in the domestic helpers with whom you could potentially hire is through interviewing them, judging their way of communication and coping with different scenarios when you post some relevant questions, you may also want to contact their previous employers for reviewing of her past working experiences. We highly recommend you to read our Over 180 Sample Interview Questions to ask during your first and/or second interview with your potential domestic helper.


These are probably the top most important traits of a domestic helper who is willing to take care for the elderly. She does need to be polite, respectful, and empathetic as most of the elderly are likely to forget things often and cannot take care of themselves properly. So, the domestic helper is expected to handle all these situations with a lot of care and patience, as well as with lots of positivity! A smiling and pleasing personality emanates positive energy and keeps the environment peaceful, which is something all elderly people need.


2. Compassion, Patience & Attentive

The elderly are likely to become more sentimental, sometimes stubborn, sometimes awfully talkative as they ramble, and, at times, very angsty. Such behaviour is understandable as they may not have someone to talk to hence, they may feel rejected and isolated. Just like the cycle of life, seniors also show some behavioural elements common with kids. They respond more to storytelling than logical explanations. At such times, explaining things with a mind bent on storytelling can prove to be more productive.


Therefore compassion along with patience conversational ability, a domestic helper can learn to infuse humour, joy, little stories, and poetic understanding of life and the surroundings within a conversation, these are healthy way to appease the elderly to listen and understand better, which would naturally leads to ensuring their overall happy positive moods.


Apart from that, being attentive to the elderly’s cultural and religion, likes and dislikes, and special habits are as equally important. You need to communicate with both your elderly parents and the domestic helpers in details beforehand about such sensitive aspects so to avoid unnecessary conflicts and discomforts in the future. Sometimes, there may also be some sensitive topics on the domestic helper’s cultural background which she might not feel comfortable doing.


3. Knowledge in Administering Medication & First Aid Skills

The elderly often need someone to remind and give them medicines at designated times, maintaining the right order and intervals since they are usually not sound enough to remember how many pills they should take or whether they have taken the pill already for the day. This situation can become a life-or-death situation if the elderly does not take or takes too much medicine. For this reason, either the family members or a domestic helper should keep track and help give them medicines timely and at correct regular intervals. In most households where working adults are absent for most of the day, domestic helpers have to take up this responsibility to ensure that the elderly take their medicine lest they do not skip it. So, a certain level of familiarity with drugs, prescriptions, and typical ways to administer them is expected from the domestic helper. Be sure to let her know beforehand what medication the elderly should take, when to take and what to be mindful of when it comes to any special medication treatments, side effects and/or dietary requirement.


Since your domestic helper’s main duty is to look after the elderly, it might be beneficiate to send her to a first aid course. When emergencies happen, such as when the elderly person chokes or is bleeding a lot, your domestic helper can immediately perform effective first aid for the elderly person before the ambulance arrives. Moreover, you should also inform with your domestic helper what to do and where to go when emergencies happenWrite a list of important contact details e.g. Police, Fire & Ambulance, Non-emergency Ambulance down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere obvious in the house where she can easily refer to when emergencies happen.

  • For less serious cases, she should call and alert you on the situation.
  • For serious incidents e.g. when the elderly person falls down or faints, she should call the emergency hotline 995 immediately, follow by calling you afterwards.
  • For medical treatment situation, she can refer to the list for the numbers and addresses to the nearest hospital, non-emergency service and/or doctor that the elderly person usually goes to.


4. Good Listener Skills

The best way to make things easy for elders is to maintain a polite attitude and give them more attention. Some elderly may feel sad and forlorn to a great extent, and they always think impoverished in people’s attention. Naturally, they can start shouting or expressing anger on petty issues every here and then. This is why it is always advisable to give them a proper hearing whenever they venture to express their opinion or talk about anything. If your full-time domestic helper who is taking care of the elderly could be polite, understanding, accommodating, and attentive to them, they will make the elderly comfortable and feels loved again.


5. Good Time Management & Organising Skills

It can sometimes be tough to juggle taking care of the elderly together with managing the day-to-day household chores. Having a good time management and impeccable organisation skills will make these tasks easier. Not to mention, the elderly’s medication has to be given to them at the right timing with the appropriate amount. It is god’s send to have found a domestic helper who is organised in her own life however if you are unable to, do not fret as there is always a solution to everything. You can certainly Increase Your Maid’s Housekeeping Productivity by simply first make a To-Do List or Weekly Schedule so that your domestic helper would not lose track of important tasks. 


We All Are Headed That Way

One of the most emotionally complex and difficult things a person can experience is taking care of an elderly. Very few people anticipate this task, some deny that it is coming. However, sooner or later, a bathroom fall, or a doctor’s diagnosis can propel grown-up children into the role of caregivers overnight. That is why we recommend professional domestic helpers and/or caregivers to support you with extra pair of helping hands because taking care of the elderlies is different and many times does require certain skills and lots of patience.



We are here for you throughout the entirety of this journey.


At Recruitbee, we understand the anxiety and frustration that may arise in the initial adjustment period for both the employer and your domestic helper, thus we are here prepared to help and counsel both parties.


Please feel free to speak to our professional and compassion sales consultants, we want to see happy customers relieved of the stresses from household needs and at the same time we wish to help our domestic helpers obtain gainful employment.


For any assistances or advices that you may need,

call us at (65) 6721 9031 / (65) 6721 9032 / (65) 8189 5339.

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