Caregiving experiences, coping strategies and needs of foreign domestic workers caring for older people

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In societies with ageing populations, foreign domestic workers are essential to provide care for older people in the community. Despite an increasing trend of employing foreign domestic workers as live-in caregivers to older people, limited research has been done to understand their caregiving experiences and coping strategies.

Aims and objectives

To explore the caregiving experiences and coping strategies of foreign domestic workers caring for older people in Singapore.


Descriptive qualitative study.


This study was conducted in a large hospital in Singapore. Purposive sampling was used. Participants had to be able to converse in English and employed as foreign domestic workers to provide care to individuals aged 60 years and above, and needed assistance in at least one activity of daily living. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted until data saturation was achieved. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcribed data were analysed using thematic analysis.


We interviewed 11 participants. Their mean age was 35 years, and they provided caregiving for about 20 hours daily. Eleven subthemes were identified and were organised into four main themes. These themes were “Juggling with Caregiving and Additional Responsibilities,” “Facing Challenges,” “Coping strategies” and “Seeking support.”


Findings showed that many foreign domestic workers lacked the needed physical rest and support for them to recharge, and they were stressed caring for older people with behavioural issues. The findings highlighted the need for more physical rest, social support and caregiver training on behavioural management for foreign domestic workers.

Relevance to clinical practice

The findings could aid the understanding of the challenges and needs of foreign domestic workers and thereafter assist in development of relevant community nursing, social support and training on disruptive behavioural management for foreign domestic workers for them to effectively care for older people in the community.

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