- There are many day care, residential programmes, and care services available if you need extra support, including foreign domestic help and live-in care.
- Services are usually arranged around the level of care required for PWD/patient.
- Caregivers can undergo training and take courses to learn how to better care for their care recipients. A list of courses is given below.
- Consider modifying your home to make it easier and safer for your care recipient to move around, or to facilitate caregiving.
Providing care at home
Foreign Domestic Workers and foreign live-in caregivers
If you want to hire a foreign domestic worker to provide care at home, the Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Concession (FDWLC) and Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) may come in handy. If the helper needs training to care for the person with disability, this cost may be defrayed by the Caregiver Training Grant. More information on these grants can be found on our Money Matters page.
You may consider a live-in caregiver who has received nursing or nursing aide training. They will look after the well-being of the care recipient, but do not do household chores. They cost more than a domestic helper.
Live-in caregivers more suited for the elderly. The employment process is similar to getting a FDW.
Caregivers may consider acquiring proper technical skills to help their care recipients, especially if they have high functional or medical needs, or behavioural challenges.
Training providers may be Social Service Agencies (SSAs), employment agencies, or care agencies. Courses include care tasks, behaviour/condition management, intervention techniques to help in the child’s development, and stress management. Some are approved for the Caregiver Training Grant which can be used by family caregivers and FDWs. Below is a list of such courses:
And because FDWs are required to multi-task, you can also check out the article below which states the places they can go to pick up useful skills like infant care, healthy cooking, and simple English and Mandarin:
Home-based care services by Social Service Agencies (SSAs)
For adults with severe disabilities who cannot perform activities of daily living, or exhibit challenging behaviours, their options for in terms of centre-based care are limited. Look into home care services instead.
The government funds SSAs to provide home care services. These involve a staff visiting your home to offer support such as therapy, personal hygiene care, medication reminders, housekeeping and training in daily living skills. The aim is to continue allowing the person with disability to live in the community, instead of institutions, while providing respite for caregivers.
Caregivers can consider modifying their homes to make it easier and safer for a person with disabilities to perform daily activities and move about the house, or to facilitate caregiving.
Common modifications include installing grab bars in bathrooms and toilets, lowering the height of light switches so wheelchair users can reach them, installing ramps and widening doorways. There are also assistive technology devices and software that make it easier for persons with disabilities to do tasks at home. For instance, some devices e.g. lights, electrical appliances can be activated remotely through mobile apps.
For information on home modifications as well as related financial assistance, click on the Assistive Technology page.
Other useful information may be found in the links below:
Medical and dental services
Your child may experience medical and/or dental related issues while you care for them at home. While some families may have regular doctor or dentist whom they would visit, some don’t. If you are looking for a special needs friendly clinic, you may refer to the Service Directory for a list of the clinics. For families who are looking for a dentist, you may refer to the Service Directory or the Office of the Public Guardian’s website for more information.
For children and youth (below 18 years)
Actions to take
- Consider pre-schools that accept children with special needs such as ICCP and private providers.
- Speak to a doctor to assess if the ICCP is suitable for your child and get a referral
- Learn more about pre-schools that accept children with special needs. Here's a list to get started.
- Consider subsidised before and after school care services offered by Special Student Care Centres (SSCCs)
- Consider Child Disability Homes (CDHs), which offer residential care to persons with disabilities aged below 18.
Integrated Child Care Programme (ICCP)
Selected mainstream childcare centres offer the Integrated Child Care Programme (ICCP) for young children aged 2 to 6 years who require low to medium levels of EI support.
Under this programme, the children can learn and play alongside their mainstream peers. Intervention and therapy services are not provided, though the mainstream curriculum may be modified to accommodate children with special needs. Speak to a doctor at a polyclinic or a paediatrician for assistance to assess if the ICCP is suitable for your child and get a referral.
The ICCP fees vary across centres and depend on the programme that your child is enrolled in. Your child may be eligible for childcare centre fee subsidies, such as the Basic Subsidy and means-tested Additional Subsidy.
Inclusive Support Programme (InSP) Pilot
In 2021, ECDA introduced a pilot programme in 7 selected childcare centres to offer the Inclusive Support Programme (InSP) to children aged 3 to 6 years who require medium levels of EI support. Unlike the ICCP, the InSP additionally provides intervention and therapy services within the preschool. These services could be integrated with early childhood education.
More information on InSP on referral process, fees, and list of centres can be found here.
Places in the ICCP and the InSP are limited. Alternatives for caregivers include other pre-schools that admit children who require EI support, can be found in the link below. Parents are advised to approach their child's pre-school directly for more information.
Before and after school care
For students aged 7 to 18 years with special needs, Special Student Care Centres (SSCCs) offer subsidised before and after school care services. The students must be enrolled in Special Education (SPED) schools.
Most centres sited in SPED schools cater only to children with special needs; others sited in the community admit children with or without special needs. If you wish to enrol your child in an SSCC, you can contact the nearest SSCC, or approach social workers and allied educators at your child’s school, or a medical social worker.
Your child may also be eligible for ComCare Student Care Subsidies. You can check directly with the centre for more information.
As places for SSCC may be quite limited, caregivers may explore alternatives such as similar centres run by private providers.
In some instances, caregivers may be unable to care for their children with disabilities and require short-term or long-term residential care for them. Child Disability Homes (CDHs) offer such care to persons with disabilities aged below 18, but admission into these homes should be considered as a last resort and only when it is in the child’s best interest. To enrol a child with disabilities into a CDH, please approach a social worker from a hospital or a SSA.
For details on centre locations, their contact numbers and operating hours, click on this list of SSAs that run child disability homes. For details on the number of vacancies in the centre, fees and specifics of their programmes, contact the service provider directly.
For adults (aged 18 and above)
Actions To Take
- Consider employment as a means of financial security and participation in society.
- Consider Sheltered Workshops, which offer allowance and training for those who lack adequate skills for employment.
- Look into community group homes, adult disability hostels and hotels if you have exhausted all other community-based services.
- Apply for senior community homes or nursing homes for older adults with disabilities.
For adults with disabilities, getting a job is a step towards financial security and participation in society. More information can be found on our Training & Employment page.
Adults with mild to moderate disabilities who lack adequate skills for employment in the job market may benefit from Sheltered Workshops. Clients engage in simple vocational tasks under close supervision, in a dedicated setting. They receive an allowance and gradually gain job skills and experience. Clients typically spend a full day, five days a week, at Sheltered Workshops.
Day Activity Centres (DACs) cater to persons with more severe disabilities, who are unable to work or attend sheltered workshops. They provide care services, therapeutic activities and training in life skills, to maintain the level of function of their clients.
DACs run full-day programmes, five days a week. Likewise, transport for those who need it and meals are provided. Fees are means-tested.
A few community-based centres offer the Drop-in Disability Programme (DDP), which conducts social and therapeutic activities a few times a week, for a few hours each time. It is suitable for adults who require minimal care support and provides short-term respite for their caregivers. Currently, only centres run by Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities offer the DDP, mainly for persons with intellectual disabilities.
For details on the number of vacancies in the centre, fees and specifics of their programmes, contact the service provider directly.
Activity-based programmes aim to enhance the social integration of persons with disabilities. They meaningfully engage their clients with various ability-appropriate activities, such as monthly community outings or weekly enrichment programmes in sports, music, excursions and many more. Here is a list of activity-based programmes available:
*In light of current safe distancing measures for COVID-19, Me Too! Club is conducting small group activities for its members. There are limited activities conducted via online platforms now.
In Singapore, residential care is intended for people with disabilities who have limited care support from family members:
- Community group homes are designated HDB rental flats retrofitted with disabled-friendly features. Typically, up to four adults share one flat; a SSA runs the homes and provides some support for residents. It is targeted at adults with disabilities who have limited family support but are fully independent and have a job. Currently, the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) runs such homes, mainly for persons with intellectual disabilities. Applicants may be asked to take part in a trial admission/ training programme for about a year, so MINDS can assess if they can adapt to the home’s environment.
- Those who may need more support can consider adult disability hostels, which offer short-term residential-based training in work and life skills, and aim to help people resume independent living in their own homes or in alternative forms of assisted community living.
- Adult disability homes provide long-term residential care for adults with disabilities who cannot live independently and are neglected or whose caregivers cannot provide support.
Only persons with disabilities who have exhausted all other avenues of community-based services are eligible for placement in such facilities. They typically cater to adults from 18 to 55 years old. Older adults with disabilities may be eligible for senior community homes or nursing homes.
You can find out more details on locations of disability residential facilities, their contact numbers and operating hours, on our service directory. For details on the number of vacancies in the centre, fees and specifics of their programmes, contact the service provider directly.
Actions to take
- Take time to read and understand the laws in Singapore that protect the interests of Persons with Disabilities, including the Children & Young Persons Act (CYPA) and Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) and Mental Capacity Act
- Apply to be your child’s court-appointed deputy to assist with his or her decision making before your child reaches the legal age of 21
The Children & Young Persons Act (CYPA) safeguards the welfare, care, protection and rehabilitation of children (below the age of 14) and young persons (14 to below 18 years old). More information on the government’s policy on the welfare and protection of children as well as information on the Child Protective Service helpline and Child Protection Specialist Centres, can be found on MSF webpage Protecting The Safety & Well-Being of Children page on the MSF website.
The Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) safeguards Vulnerable Adults (VA) from abuse, neglect, or self-neglect. A VA is defined as “an individual age 18 and older, who because of a physical or mental infirmity, disability or incapacity, is incapable of protecting oneself from harm”. This law complements existing laws, such as the Women's Charter and the Mental Capacity Act. More information, including where to seek help, can be found from the below:
Persons with intellectual disabilities, autism and mental health issues are given support when required to give a statement to the police during an investigation. Under the Appropriate Adult For Persons with Mental Disability (AAPMD) scheme, trained volunteers help the person with disabilities in question communicate more effectively during police interviews so that he/she does not misunderstand the questions asked and misunderstood by the police.
Mental capacity matters
The Mental Capacity Act addresses the need to make decisions for adults who lack mental capacity to make those decisions for themselves, and provides safeguards to protect persons lacking capacity (Code of Practice Mental Capacity Act (Chapter 177A)).
Under the Act, a person lacks capacity if he/she is unable to make a specific decision for themselves at the required time because of an impairment or disturbance in the mind.
Caregivers of persons who lack mental capacity can apply to be their Court-Appointed Deputy, which gives them the power to make important decisions on behalf of their care recipients. These decisions could be regarding the care recipient’s personal welfare (including health matters) or property and finance matters.
Parents of children in the graduating cohorts of Special Education (SPED) schools, some day activity centres (DACs) and sheltered workshops (SWs) can tap the Assisted Deputyship Application Programme (ADAP) to apply to be their children's Deputy, so as to be able to continue making legal decisions for them after they turn 21 (age of maturity in Singapore). Parents can contact the social worker for more information.
Once the care recipient turns 21, the caregiver needs to apply to the Court to seek a court order to be appointed as a Deputy. Caregivers who do not qualify for ADAP can contact the agencies below for guidance in their deputyship application.
- AMKFSC Community Services (For areas of residence covering Ang Mo Kio GRC, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, Pasir Ris – Punggol GRC, Sengkang GRC, Kebun Bahru SMC, Marymount SMC, Punggol West SMC, Yio Chu Kang SMC and Hougang SMC)
- Society of Sheng Hong Welfare Services (All other areas)
Caregivers may also approach one of the doctors listed in the Service Directory to enquire about the need to get a mental capacity assessment report for the purpose of deputyship appointment for their care recipient.
For caregivers of care recipients who have mental capacity to make the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), they may refer to the Office of the Public Guardian’s website for more information.
Developmental Disability Registry (DDR) Identity (ID) Card
Caregivers of persons with developmental disabilities are often concerned about the safety and well-being of their wards. The Developmental Disability Registry (DDR) Identity (ID) card was introduced with the aim of helping them integrate into society and live independently to the best of their ability. The information on the card will help members of the public identify and extend appropriate assistance to them, giving caregivers better peace of mind.
Click here for more information on DDRID.
Resources and Support
- Caregiver training conducted by Agency of Integrated Care (AIC)
- Information regarding hiring of Foreign Domestic Workers
- Resources on home modification
- Resources on home-based services
- Resources on child care services
- Resources on before and after school care services
- Resources on residential care for children
- Resources on sheltered workshops for adults
- Resources on day care for adults
- Resources on residential care for adults
- Additional resources for caregivers