When caregivers talk about the stress of caring for their parents, the next issue that they bring up is most often that they lack the support from their siblings.
When taking on such a huge emotional and physical task, you would naturally need as much help as you can get.
Uncertainty in the situation of caring for your parents causes conflict. Watching your parents decline also adds to the stress and emotions. These can take a toll on the relationship between siblings if it’s not properly managed.
Here’s a few tips and advice curated from Daily Caring.
Smol tok is everything that cards against humanity is not.
Nicholas created smol tok as an ice-breaking and community-building card game designed to grow meaningful conversations, trust, and relationships – minus the bullshit.
Every card is a question, and every question is a peek into what makes us human.
1. How did you get started with smol tok?
I was reading viktor frankl’s man’s search for meaning, everyone should read this book at pivotal moments in life.
I was heavily inspired and influenced by his teachings about how the search for meaning and purpose is essential for every human being to not only survive but thrive, and find happiness in life.
Questions are an important tool in this endeavour, and I had created a bunch of questions for myself as a personal heuristic.
Someone I knew saw it and incepted the idea of making it accessible to others who might need it.
I experimented with some designs and put it in a shop. It slowly grew from there organically.
2. How long has the journey been and how has it evolved along the way?
I was still working at my day job when I released smol tok in 2015.
Did it at night and on the weekends in 2015 and 2016. Passion project really.
I wasn’t looking to start a company or a line of products. Just wanted to make stuff that helped people like me find meaning and purpose in their relationships, work, life, etc.
But, sometime in 2016, I took a 2 month long break and went on a backpacking pilgrimage.
The extended time away from what we consider normal in Singapore brought increasing clarity to me.
I decided I needed to redesign and reprogramme my life, and reorient it towards work that was truly meaningful, that I could uniquely carry out.
I returned to Singapore, quit my day job, and started to feel my way forward with smol tok.
Since then, I’ve released one new deck every year, with plans to do so for the next 6 years.
The whole creative process is life-giving to me, and I have a blank slate to create in Smol Tok.
I’ve also met many like-minded and talented people along the way, and together with some of them, are working to spin off and create other kinds of meaningful games and content.
3. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
An ongoing challenge is getting folks to get into the habit of asking questions about their own lives with the intention of getting clearer about what truly gives them meaning and purpose, and not simply cruise along on autopilot.
The Singapore narrative that we’re schooled in is based on a pretty narrow definition of success – the material sort.
I suspect many folks feel trapped in this narrative; some time away on retreat and a few honest questions directed at oneself could help folks write their own narrative, one that’s uniquely tailored to them as individuals.
4. What are your upcoming plans for Starknicked? (It’s pronounced ‘stark naked’)
Expansion. Building a community of folks who seek greater meaning and purpose in life.
Also, there are five more decks of smol tok I need to bring to maturity, including one on work, one on travel, and one on ecology.
Plus a new family of card games rooted in my family’s Peranakan heritage.
Tan Shao Han, 37, and Alanna Yeo, 34, Co-founders of Curious Chimeras
The Curious Chimeras focuses on the art of storytelling via unique experiences that encompass strong narrative, tabletop games, art, and culture.
Through Curious Chimeras experiences and games, players can adventure fearlessly, engage in meaningful interactions with others and ultimately build a community that allows for exploration, self-discovery and the understanding of new and different perspectives.
1. How did you get started with Curious Chimeras?
Shao: Curious Chimeras began with a passion to share the joy of roleplaying games with different people around me.
I was mostly working with kids, and enjoyed adapting and creating roleplaying games into simpler, more robust forms for their enjoyment – that was when I realized I found this process of game-making to be very fulfilling on a personal level.
That realization led me to focus on creating more games, and pushing myself into these endeavors.
Alanna: I joined Curious Chimeras because I have a passion for incorporating play and storytelling into our daily lives.
I had found it joyful to create ‘gameful’ experiences previously, for areas such as education, mental wellbeing, personal communication etc.
When Shao shared with me his vision for Curious Chimeras, I found that it was something I was immensely interested in, so here we are writing games and experiences for a living!
2. How long has the journey been and how has it evolved along the way?
Shao: We incorporated at the beginning of 2018, and we have been operating before this as a community of playful volunteers that uses games to help kids learn and bond with one another.
In the past, we were more of a loose collective with an interest in play, while now we are more of a focused company with an emphasis on creating playable experiences.
3. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Shao: Writing and publishing roleplaying games requires a lot of different skills – just like playing and running them!
I’ve had to become familiar with a lot of different skills like typesetting, graphic design, and the operations of a small business, while also reading and playing a lot of different games to get a better idea of my own visions and voice as a game maker.
As for how I overcame this – it’s just a matter of putting in lots of time, energy, and focus, I guess! 🙂
Alanna: In general, starting a business is never an easy task; immense discipline and communication is needed especially in a business run by more than one.
So far, I think Shao and I work very well together in terms of how our different skillsets complement each other, and most importantly, that the two of us are both direct and honest in the way we communicate with each other.
4. What are your upcoming plans for Curious Chimeras?
We are publishing a few roleplaying games in a mix of the Old School Revival (OSR) and narrative-driven ‘storygame’ style.
The first is “Tales of Saintrest”, a game of mythic fantasy about mortals and spirits in a world healing from a war, and we are also working on products and modules for other roleplaying engines and systems.
On the other side, we also develop and provide corporate services – we design and use roleplaying games to encourage teamwork and bonding in fun and immersive ways. Call us if you’re interested! 🙂
Elderly isolation definitely seems to be a growing problem.
Last week, there was a news report that elderly suicides was at an all-time high.
An extract from Channel NewsAsia states, “The number of elderly aged 60 and above who took their own lives peaked at 129 last year, the highest since suicide tracking started in 1991.”
The total number of suicides last year was 361. This means that out of every three suicides, one was an elderly.
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is also encouraging seniors to call into their hotline because they see a drop in seniors calling in and they are concerned about elderly isolation.
According to the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study in 2012 by the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, one in five elderly persons in Singapore aged 75 and above show signs of depression.
There is also projected to be 83,000 seniors living alone by 2030.
It is clearly a big issue. This makes it more important for us to be more mindful of the seniors around us and watch for red flags.
These red flags are symptoms of suicidal tendencies to watch out for:
Making preparations for death (e.g. writing a will or giving away cherished belongings)
Sudden withdrawal from social interactions
Self-neglect in terms of low personal hygiene and a dirty living environment
Struggle with a recent life crisis (e.g. the death of a loved one or excessive medical bills.)
However, it has not been an entirely smooth sailing journey for Magdalene.
“As a working Mother with a special child, I face challenges in getting sufficient help and juggling between office work, son, choir and art classes for children with special needs. I’ve to constantly come up with new and creative songs and dance steps, charting choirs schedule and collating attendance,” said Magdalene.
She sources for funds to buy materials such as hand chimes for the performances.
She also gets sponsorship help from family and friends who believe in the project.
The Singapore Special Voices comprises a tight community of special needs children and their parents.
Magdalene’s vision is to develop stage performing talents amongst children with special needs.
She wants to provide an avenue for them to be engaged in meaningful activities.
She believes that this will help improve their social skills and allow them to build self-confidence.
She is already seeing the fruits of her labour as parents have been sharing improvements of their children’s social skills and self-confidence.
Through the choir, Magdalene’s son has also become more sociable and open in interacting with others.
Her dream is to produce albums for the choir and bring them overseas to share this visions with special needs families in different part of the world.
She hopes that the Singapore Special Voices will bring Love, Joy and Hope to the rest of the world.
Joy who is from Florida, shared about how she has been giving her mum Turmeric root. She has since seen positive results in her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease.
I was quite intrigued by this because I’ve read that Turmeric is great for the mind.
In Singapore, Indians supposedly are less likely to get dementia because they take loads of Turmeric in their food.
I asked Joy if she was okay with sharing her experience and she very kindly agreed.
1. Tell us about yourself and your experience as a caregiver?
I moved in with my mom six months after my father passed away. I didn’t think that she should be living on her own for the first time in her life at 86.
I didn’t know she had dementia – she was recovering from surgery on her brain. She has a Meningioma – which is a benign tumor on the lining of the brain. It’s been removed twice (it grew back after it was removed the first time).
She managed to bounced back after the first time it got removed.
But, the second surgery seriously impacted her. She currently lives with Alzheimers’ Diease.
We’re not too sure if the tumor was the cause of it.
2.When did you start giving your mum Turmeric root? What made you start your mum on this?
I had read about it, and saw the fresh root at my Farmer’s Market, so I bought some and started giving it to her.
3.You mentioned that she seemed to be clearer, what are your observations of her after taking Turmeric?
Recently, she has been able to dress herself independently. The only help that she gets from me is laying out her clothes.
Before taking turmeric, she was not able to get the sequence of dressing herself right. She sometimes, skips underwear, or ignores the clothes that I laid out.
When left on her own, she usually would wear something like three tops and no pants.
In general, she seems sharper. However, there are still some off days.
4.How do you prepare turmeric root and how often do you give it to her?
I simmer it in a pan with a little coconut oil and Basalmic vinegar. It doesn’t taste great, but she doesn’t mind.
Sometimes, I give her a piece to chew on, sometimes I mince it and put in her food. She doesn’t object.
I usually give her a few pieces of turmeric in the day.
5. Are there other ways to prepare Turmeric?
When eaten with fat (virgin olive or coconut oil or meat drippings) as is done in India, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby partially bypassing the liver.
A recipe for this is the Tumeric Golden Paste which can be consumed as it is or mixed into rice, dishes or drinks.
Extracted from the article:
What is needed for making Turmeric Golden Paste?
1/2 cup turmeric powder (125 mls) – Use organic powder.
1 cup water (250 mls) or a bit more to get desired paste consistency
1 teaspoons ground black pepper (7.5 mls) (or even 1/2 tsp. if pepper is too irritating)
1/4 cup (70 ml) cold pressed Olive or un-refined Coconut oil – enhances the bio-availability of curcumin another seven to eight-fold
Add turmeric to water in a pan. Heat gently along with stirring. Do this till you get a thick paste, approximately 6 to 10 min. Adjust thickness by adding some water or adding a bit more turmeric.
Finally, add the pepper and oil. Keep stirring to ensure that all ingredients are mixed properly. Allow it to cool.
Bottle in clean jar with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it for 4-5 weeks or more. (Antimicrobial Un-refined, virgin Coconut oil will help keep it from spoiling sooner). This will ensure you can make it once and use for days.
6. Are there any other natural remedies you recommend for seniors?
YES – although we haven’t tried, MCT oil is next on my list. I bought it for my son and he LOVES it.
MCT oil are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid with health benefits like improved cognitive function to better weight management.
I also shared about early intervention and how my grandma benefited from taking Coconut Oil here.
Do you want FREE activities for seniors? Leave your email address and we will send them to you.
If you are caring for a senior, you may be wondering how to keep your loved ones occupied.
You may be looking for activities, companionship, caregiving or exercise related services for your loved ones.
I’ve compiled a list of options that you can consider. This is definitely not a comprehensive list.
If you know of any services that you think I should add, please let me know!
I’ve been to AMKFSC’s Senior Activity Hub in Punggol with my grandma. It is quite a positive experience. They have a weekly schedule of activities that range from afternoon exercises, karaoke to arts and craft.
I’m not too sure if all the Senior Activity Centres are open to everyone though? According to Singapore Silver Pages, you have to meet their eligibity criteria and apply first.
There’s too many senior activity centres that it’s impossible to list them all. But, you can definitely look for one near you with the help of Google.
Some of the Senior Activity Centres that you can consider are Hovi Care and SASCO.
Extracted from their site — This space was set up by SG Enable, a government-established body that is dedicated to enabling people with disabilities. This is the first inclusive gym where people with disabilities, seniors and the able-bodied can come together to work out and participate in selected sports programmes together.
Extracted from their site — The ASPIRE55 Introduction Programme is designed to help you improve on your muscle strength and balance after 10 weeks. Over 150 older adults have graduated to date. You will experience our small group strength training programme twice a week, led by an ASPIRE55 trainer. Each week, learn new exercises that will assist you with falls prevention, improvement of balance and muscles strength.
1 Commonwealth Lane #08-34 One Commonwealth Singapore 149544
Seniors are broken into small groups based on the severity of their condition, and their various interests.
Montessori for Dementia Care also offers sessions for seniors to exercise their memory, staying creative, and purposefully active with the goal of continuing to learn and live a life of dignity.
They have an Activity Centre, providing daily 3-hour sessions with diverse activities, with group or individualised sessions. Activities like cooking, music, arts and crafts, exercise, and conversation offer a diverse and social experience.
AWWA Dementia Day Care also offers a programme that aims to help seniors in slowing down the progression of the condition.
I believe that there are many more services out there? And, I may have barely scratched the surface.
But, the objective is really to list some available services out there in case you’re looking for something.
I’ve also heard about the red tape involved in getting seniors placed in some of these programmes.
So, I guess if you’re waiting too long to hear back from one service provider, maybe you can try other services?
Let me know if I got anything wrong of if you have anything that you want to share.
When I started play huahee, there was lots of possibilities of what it could be.
I spent many nights being excited, dreaming of what I could build.
It was tremendously easy to be excited because there was nothing, and I was basically building sandcastles in the air.
It’s been a year since the Play huahee campaign went live on Indiegogo.
And, now it’s much harder. The hype of the launch has died down.
Sometimes, I feel like I haven’t moved the needle much. You take one step forward and maybe a million steps back.
I ask myself what I’m doing everyday and I question where I’m going a lot.
My husband told me that what I’m doing is like laying bricks and it takes a really long time to build a house.
If you can’t deal with the emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs (many more downs than ups) that come with it, maybe you’re not cut out for this.
But, I remember that even before Play Huahee was conceived, I promised myself that wherever this project went or turned out, I would not give up. It may take a totally different shape or form in the future.
In a recent chick flick that I watched, the female lead wanted to be a writer and she really struggled with her first draft. She couldn’t get past her head that she felt like it was a shitty article.
She only submitted the article after she accepted that maybe it’s okay for her first piece of work to be as shitty as shitty could be.
And, She would keep writing and writing till she gets better.
So, I probably need to get out of my head and accept that Play Huahee is nothing/nowhere right now.
And, I can then deal with whatever disappointment that may come.
When doing a long distance run, it is extremely difficult when you fixate on how you’re nowhere near the finish line.
But, the run becomes more manageable when you just run knowing that you’ve committed yourself to it.
If you read this, thanks for being a part of my journey.
Do you feel like giving up halfway? Leave your email address & embark on this journey with us. We will also send you FREE simple and effective exercises to engage your seniors at home.