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Celebrating Caregiving 2013 Model Caregiver awards

Saturday, 16 November 2013 – The 2013 Model Caregiver Awards were presented this morning by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, at an event at Hyflux Innovation Centre.

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Organised by AWWA Centre for Caregivers (CFC), with support from Agency for Integrated Care and SG Enable, the “Celebrating Caregiving” event aimed to highlight stories of exemplary family caregivers who had demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness in managing the challenges of being a caregiver, and to inspire fellow caregivers across Singapore and generate greater awareness among the wider community.

More than 160 caregivers, guests and volunteers came together to celebrate the occasion.

Twenty award recipients were selected from 29 caregiving individuals and families, and domestic helpers, and nominated by various Voluntary Welfare Organisations, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and a Community Development Council. For the domestic helper category, nominations from the public were also sought.

Of these, six individuals/families were selected to receive the two top awards in three categories: The individual caregiver award, the family caregiver award and the caregiver domestic helper award.

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2013 Model Caregiver Award: Mariah Bte Ahmad
For the past 14 years, 59-year-old Mdm Mariah has been caring for her nephew Mikhail, who was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegia. Patient and loving, she cares for him like he is her own child. Mdm Mariah often helps out in Mikhail’s class activities and even educates other caregivers on how to better care for their children. Mdm Mariah’s devotion to Mikhail’s care and development enables her widowed sister to work and support the family.

2013 Model Caregiver Merit Award: Cheong Yoke Cheng
Mdm Cheong demonstrates great strength, love and optimism while caring for her 17-year old son, Joshua, who has Cerebral Palsy. Despite numerous challenges, the 54-year-old mother of two has overcome each with a strong resolve, to become an inspirational pillar of support to her family and the community. She also leads an informal support group of caregivers at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore.

2013 Model Caregiving Family Award: Nuraini Mohd Noor, Yusuf Bin Noordin, Naqiyah Bte Yusuf & Sumini Bte Rasid
Mdm Nurani, her husband Yusuf, and one of their daughters, Naqiyah, are caregivers of two teenagers and a young child with intellectual disability and epilepsy. Mdm Nuraini, who also has epilepsy, taught herself special massage skills to help with her children’s conditions, which have since improved. Despite his shift work, Mr Yusuf helps his wife with grocery shopping, as well as bathing and ferrying the children to and from school. Sixteen-year-old Naqiyah has demonstrated great maturity and understanding in helping to take care of her siblings. This experience has inspired her to aspire to pursue nursing as a career, and to care for others in future. Mdm Nuraini’s mother, Mdm Sumini, also helps with the caregiving duties.

2013 Model Caregiving Family Merit Award: Mala Palmanappam & Jennifer Chua

Mdm Mala and her 18-year-old daughter Jennifer banded together to care for their late husband/father, who was diagnosed with final-stage cancer. Jennifer, who obtained a leave of absence from her Junior College studies, tended to her younger siblings, and took on part-time jobs to supplement her family’s income. Her daughter’s significant role allowed 43-year old Mdm Mala to devote all her time and energy to caring for her husband in his final days. Mdm Mala has since discovered a vocation in nursing, and now cares for others in a nursing home. Jennifer has resumed her studies with renewed determination to pursue her aspiration to study medicine.

2013 Model Caregiving Domestic Helper Award: Satem Bte Nawireja
For the past 12 years, Ms Satem has been caring for 18-year old Colin, who was diagnosed with Lysosome Storage disease. She has also recently begun caring for Colin’s grandfather, who was diagnosed with cancer. The 34-year old Indonesian is extremely dedicated in taking care of Colin. She has not returned home since 2010, as she cannot bear to be away from him. The hardworking Ms Satem juggles caring for Colin and his grandfather with routine household chores, and finds fulfillment in contributing to their happiness and quality of life. She is committed to caring for Colin as long as he needs her, and embraces the Cheam family as her family in Singapore, despite pleas from her own family to return home.

2013 Model Caregiving Domestic Helper Merit Award: Suriya Neman
Ms Suriya hails from Java. The warm-hearted 37-year-old cared for the late Mr Loh Chuan Yick to her utmost ability, and bonded with him emotionally. Despite the language barrier, she learnt to cook Mr Loh’s favourite dishes and even picked up his dialect in order to better communicate with him. The elderly Mr Loh was diagnosed with advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and had bad eczema outbreaks. Ms Suriya diligently applied moisturizer on Mr Loh’s body, and massaged him every night. As a result, Mr Loh’s pains were alleviated, and his skin condition improved significantly. With such dedication, she helped ensure that he stayed out of the hospital for a year. She continues to work with the family and joins Mr Loh’s daughter to pray at the temple for his soul.

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About the Awards

In 2007, AWWA CFC launched the Model Caregiver Awards to highlight stories of exemplary family caregivers who had demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness in managing the challenges of being a caregiver.

Besides celebrating caregivers’ dedication and commitment through the annual awards, the aim is also to inspire fellow caregivers across Singapore and to generate greater awareness among the wider community.  A new award category was introduced in 2012 to recognise the significant role that foreign domestic helpers play in helping Singaporean families care for their loved ones. Caregivers were nominated by Voluntary Welfare Organisations and interviewed by a panel comprising representatives from VWOs and health sector agencies.

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