Does Support From Foreign Domestic Workers Decrease the Negative Impact of Informal Caregiving? Results From Singapore Survey on Informal Caregiving

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To assess the instrumental support from a foreign domestic worker (FDW) as a moderator of the association of 4 types of impairments (physical function, memory, behavior, and mood) among older persons (OPs) with caregiving-related outcomes among their informal caregivers (CGs).


Data from a national survey of 1,190 Singaporeans aged 75 and older receiving human assistance for functional limitations and their CGs were used. Severity scores for the four OP impairments were calculated. A modified version of the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA) assessed the impact of caregiving in four domains: disturbed schedule and poor health, lack of finances, lack of family support, and CG esteem. Linear regression models, one for each CRA domain, with interaction terms of the four impairment severity scores with FDW support, were developed.


FDW instrumental support, reported for 50% of the OPs, moderated the direct association of OP physical impairment with disturbed schedule and poor health (p = .009), OP memory impairment with disturbed schedule and poor health (p < .0001) and lack of finances (p = .02), and OP behavior impairment with lack of family support (p = .001). Although such support buffered the inverse association of OP behavior impairment with CG esteem (p = .01), it also buffered the positive association of OP mood impairment with CG esteem (p = .02).


FDW support is associated with better caregiving outcomes. Given its aging population, the number of FDWs in Singapore is likely to increase as families try to cope with caregiving for their older members. This has policy implications for (a) immigration patterns into Singapore and (b) training of and support networks for FDWs.

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