Malaysia Caregiver Service: The Definitive Guide (2019)
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Malaysia Caregiver Service: The Definitive Guide (2019)

Malaysia Caregiver Service: The Definitive Guide (2019)

In life, there’ll be unexpected things that people aren’t ready for, such as dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one, loss of income, natural disasters, and… becoming a caregiver for their parents.

According to the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, the number of Malaysians aged 60 years and above is estimated to be 2 million and is projected to increase to 6 million in the year 2020.

The suddenness of becoming the parent’s caregiver could take a toll on someone, both physically and mentally.

Imagine juggling between career, family, personal life, plus giving intensive care and attention to your parents. Clearly, it is impossible for one person to manage everything without getting burnt out.

So, what does it mean to be a caregiver? What skills should a caregiver have?

Here’s a definitive guide about the Malaysian caregiver service that you need to know.

What is a caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who regularly looks after a child, a sick person, an elderly, or even a disabled person. A caregiver could be an unpaid family member, or a paid help.

The duty of a caregiver is to assist with daily activities and personal care such as preparing meals, feeding and bathing, grooming, ambulation, and more!

What is a professional caregiver?

A professional caregiver is trained to do more than managing activities of daily living (ADLs). They can also provide companionship, assist with transferring and mobility, and medication management.

Professional caregivers aren’t only skilled, but also hold high professional standards in terms of their behavior and boundaries, because most are attached to a caregiver service provider.

Take CARE Concierge, for instance. The candidates must go through verification, health screening, and in-person training & certification provided by the company, and in some cases their university partners, before being accepted and matched to a case that suits their training and experience.

Types of caregiver Malaysia service, caregiver skills and duties

There are different types of caregiver Malaysia service, with each caregiver holding a different set of skills. A caregiver can also be a private nurse or specialist to cater to different cases. Some of the types of services and duties are:

Elderly Care Service

The elderly care service involves engaging a part-time, daily, or live-in caregiver to assist your elderly parents at home while you continue with your daily routine.

Some of the duties of the caregiver for elderly care include managing activities of daily living (ADLs), monitoring the patient’s condition by keeping a diary, dispensing medication, grooming, preparing meals, conducting basic exercises, and providing mental support.

Specialized Care Service

The specialized care service is designed for patients who have been diagnosed with, or have more complex illnesses, such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, stroke, and Parkinson’s.

For example, caregivers looking after Dementia patients are trained to know how to control their emotions when dealing with repetitive questions from the patient, so they do not get frustrated easily or lose their temper as a result of dealing with such behavior.

The caregiver will provide the proper care and supervision, managing the patient’s needs while the family members are away at work during the day.

Post-Hospitalization Care Service

Post-hospitalization is a crucial period where the patient requires proper care and treatment to ensure that the patient has a better chance of recovering.

The family members may also want to request for a Registered Nurse (RN) to assist with wound dressing, injection, Nasogastric tube (NGT) feeding, catheter change, suctioning, and other medical procedures. For stroke patients, or those who have restricted range of motion (ROM), the family may need to engage a licensed Physiotherapist upon being discharged from the hospital to focus on restoring their functional movements. A speech therapist may also be engaged for patients post-stroke.

The Registered Nurse (RN) or licensed Physiotherapist can provide these post-hospitalization specialized care right at the comforts of your own home, so you do not have to make your way out to a hospital or rehabilitation centre. Find out more about these services here.

Medical Nursing Care Service

The medical nursing team consists of doctors and Registered Nurses (RN). Upon request, they can come to your house and provide medical services such as complex wound dressing, IV Drip, NGT feeding, Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) tube change, and other medical procedures.

How much does it cost to hire a caregiver in Malaysia?

Rest assured that when hiring a professional caregiver, you do not have to spend a huge tonne of money. The services of a professional caregiver are now available by the hour, daily, or even monthly, and it also depends on the condition of the patient, eg. live-in or daily care.

The cost of professional caregiver services for the elderly in Malaysia ranges from as low as RM25 per hour, or over RM5,000 per month. The flexibility allows you to create a plan within your budget or needs.

For example, if you are working full time, you may opt for the daily care services 5 days a week, as you will be there for your parents after work. It is common for full time working adults to engage the services of a professional caregiver to look after their parents during the working hours, ensuring that their parents are under proper care and supervision.


Caregiver VS Maid

A caregiver is someone who regularly looks after a child, a sick person, an elderly, or even a disabled person. A caregiver could be an unpaid family member, or a paid help.

A maid on the other hand is a paid individual, trained and skilled to focus on ensuring that the house is kept clean and tidy. Their duties mainly focus on the home, rather than on specifically caring for an individual.

The table below is an illustration of the differences between a caregiver and a maid. Some of the duties listed may vary in real life, depending on the service provider, as well as the agreed upon work arrangement:

Professionally trained to know how to handle people, be it the elderly, or patients with specialized needsHas no professional training with regards to caregiving. Mainly focuses on keeping the household tidy and in order
Assigned to the elderly / patient based on experience and skillsetMay have some basic experience handling an elderly or ill person, but are untrained to handle them. 
Prepares basic meals only for the patient or the elderly based on the requirementsPrepares meals for the whole family unit
Assists in activities of daily living (ADLs) such as grooming, bathing, dressing, feeding etc.Focuses on home cleanliness. May assist the family members from time to time with the basics (eg. feeding)
Medication management & dispensingDispenses medication
Provides companionshipProvides companionship if trained to communicate and understand the language
Ensures the surrounding of the elderly / patient is kept hygienic and neat Cleans the entire home (sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, etc.)
Conducts range of motion exercises and some basic physiotherapy if trained-
Conducts mind stimulation exercises-
Keeps diary and vitals recording-
Knows proper lifting techniques to ensure both the elderly and the caregiver are safe-

You may think the duties of a professional caregiver Malaysia are relatively similar to a maid. However, bear in mind that a caregiver is not a maid, and vice versa. There are significant differences between the roles, knowledge, qualifications, and focus of scope of work between the two.

Some people are entrusting the additional caregiving duties to their maid, not realising that they are not trained and equipped with the right skills for it. This increase in workload and responsibility tends to lead to pressure, exhaustion, and eventually, being burnt out for the domestic workers.

It is important to understand that maids are not professionally trained to carry out the duties of caregiving, especially for those with special needs such as Dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and even Parkinson’s.

In March 2018, a maid in Singapore was jailed for abusing an 89 year old Dementia woman she was taking care of. Addressing the issue, Daniel Tan, the Vice President of the Caregiving Association urged people to look at the underlying issues giving rise to the incident.

There have been several cases of violence released due to the frustration of the maids from being overworked, and are unable to cope with the additional caregiving tasks and responsibilities. Not only are they not able to care for the elderly, the stretching of their capacity leaves them being unable to perform even their basic tasks properly.

Do be informed that it is a breach of contract when a family engages with the services of a professional caregiver, but assigned these professional caregivers to do more than is expected of them. You should discuss the duties and your needs with the caregiver service provider before engaging with the services of one.

Caregiver to the Home VS Nursing Home

Between hiring a private caregiver Malaysia to go to your home, or letting your ageing parents stay in a nursing home, which one should you choose? Both options provide good assistance for your loved ones when you’re away.

To help you make up your mind, here are the pros and cons between the two:

CaregiverNursing Home
Familiar & comfortable atmosphereFriendly environment
Home may not have the necessary facilities to ensure the safety of the elderly (eg. hand-railings, wheelchair ramp, etc.)Elderly-friendly designed homes,  equipped with the necessary facilities (eg. stair lift, grab-rails etc.)
Care provided on hourly, daily, or monthly basisRound the clock 24-hour care provided by registered nurses & professional caregivers
Gives undivided attention and caregiving to one care recipientStaff divides time between all care recipients
Able to provide immediate assistanceAssistance depending on the number of staff, specific requirements and the size of the nursing home
Build close & trusting relationship to the care recipient (one-on-one care)Relationship to certain recipient may not be as strong as a caregiver or staff are not focusing on just one care recipient
Care recipients mostly converse with the caregiverOpportunity to make friends in the community
Potential of social isolationHelps recipient to be socially active
Care recipients have more freedomLimited freedom as care recipients must abide with the rules & regulations (sleeping hour, visiting hour, dining hour, etc.)
Food catered specifically to their needs, but might need to be purchased from outsideFixed menu, provides well-balanced and nutritious meals

It is good to discuss with your elderly parents about their preferences and needs when choosing between hiring a professional caregiver to the home, or opting for care in a nursing home. Your schedule and financial condition also affects this decision.

Most ageing parents fear losing their independence as they get older, hence it shows them that you truly care and respect their decision.

Proper communication also ensures that your elderly parent is aware of your intentions on providing the best care for them, and would result in them cooperating better.

Signs your parents need a caregiver

Some adults aged 65 years and above need daily assistance. However, knowing when to hire a professional caregiver isn’t always clear. Here are some of the signs indicating that it is time to engage with the services of a professional caregiver for your parents:

1. Balance Issues

Research has shown that falls is one of the top 10 leading causes of death amongst the elderly, and approximately 1 in 5 elderly (20%) fall when not under supervision.

If you notice that your elderly parent is experiencing pain when walking, getting up, sitting down, dragging their feet while walking, or walking unsteadily, they are at risk of falling. Do consult your medical practitioner to diagnose the issue and work towards rehabilitating the root cause.

2. Late bill payments and missed appointments

People tend to gradually get forgetful as they age. However, if you noticed that your parents are not settling their bills, or missed their appointments more often than usual, this could be a sign of some underlying issues.

It is best to seek professional consultation to clearly identify what the issues at hand are. Early detection allows the family to deal with any symptoms and reduce the negative implications significantly.

3. Lack of personal hygiene

Are your parents wearing the same clothes for a few days? Do they have bad breath and strong body odour consistently?

These could be signs indicating that your parents are no longer able to look after their personal hygiene, which may affect their overall health condition in the long run.

A caregiver can assist with their personal hygiene such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Part of the duties of a professional caregiver includes assisting the elderly with their activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming, and making sure their overall health and hygiene is maintained.

4. Depression or loneliness

Do you feel that your elderly parents are losing interest in their hobbies? Are they suddenly gaining/losing weight significantly? Do they distance themselves from you?

Those could be signs of the onset of depression or loneliness.

It is advised to ensure that your elderly is kept in good company, even while you’re away at work. Engaging the services of a professional caregiver during the day provides our elderly parents with the necessary supervision and companionship, which helps stimulate them both mentally and physically.

CARE Concierge’s elderly dayCARE provides companionship, activities, meals and drinks throughout the day to ensure that your elderly parent never gets bored, and are taken care of well. All this is provided in a safe and comfortable environment.

5. Spoiled food

If your elderly parents are living away from you, do check in on their refrigerator every now and then. You should be looking out for expired food, or even food which has been kept for too long and is starting to smell. If your parents are unable to do their grocery shopping and meal preparation anymore, do request for assistance from a professional caregiver.

What is Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

Palliative care aims to ease pain and help with other problems related to the illness. The illness may be serious, but not considered life-threatening at the time being.

Hospice care, on the other hand, relates to easing pain and helping families prepare for the end of life. For example, patients who have learned from their doctors that they are not expected to recover from their condition, and have a limited time to live.

Both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort (easing of pain). Palliative care can begin upon diagnosis, or at the same time as treatment. Hospice care on the other hand usually begins after the treatment of the illness has ceased, when it is clear that the person is not going to benefit from further treatments.

It is the choice of your loved one (or the next-of-kin family member, in the case where they are no longer able to express their choices) to let your loved ones spend the last days of their lives in the hospital or in the comforts of home. However, the trend has shown that a majority of the patients would prefer to remain in the comforts of home to receive the necessary support and care from their loved ones, as opposed to being in a hospital.


Pros and Cons of Hiring a Caregiver to the Home

Losing independence is something we hope we do not have to go through in our lifetime. However, if there should come a time where living alone is no longer the best option (health and safety concerns), we need to consider alternatives, especially for ageing parents or people with special needs.

Should you hire a professional caregiver to the home? Here are the benefits for you to consider:

  • Elderly parent / Care recipient receives care in the comforts of home, allowing them to stay close to their family
  • Avoid stress and getting burnt out from juggling between work, providing care for your family, and having personal time
  • Caregiver focuses on providing the care for the care recipient, so that family members can focus on being there with their loved ones or taking care of the home, and not be overwhelmed by the caregiving duties
  • Respite for the family so they can continue with their career, daily tasks etc.
  • Elderly parents have a companion to bond with and have company at home, while family members are out and away at work
  • Elderly parents are safe at home under proper care and supervision of the professional caregiver, as opposed to being at home alone during the day

There are many aspects to consider when choosing the best candidate to take care of your loved ones, such as:

  • Assessing your homecare needs: What type of caregiving services do you or your elderly loved one really need?
  • Assessing your financial capabilities: Can you afford hourly, daily, or monthly care? Daycare or round-the-clock care?
  • Appointing a person-in-charge; involving all family members to care for your parents could lead to confusion and delay in decision making. It is advisable to appoint someone to make the final call, and be the go-to for liaison with the caregiver
  • Interview your caregiver and introduce them to the care recipient (your elderly parents or loved one) to make sure the caregiver can fit with the family well
  • After the hiring process: observe the performance and attitude of the professional caregiver, as well as how the care recipient is responding to their care. If something is not right, speak to the caregiver, or the caregiving service provider

No time to do all the things above? Don’t worry! You can save time and energy by engaging with the services of a professional caregiver from a caregiver service provider in Malaysia such as CARE Concierge.

The team of CARE Pros (nurses, therapists & caregivers) have passed the background check, they are certified & trained, and are carefully matched to the care recipient’s needs.


Are the caregivers qualified and trained to provide care?

For some people, it is hard letting a stranger take care of their loved ones, especially at home. If you feel the same, rest assured, knowing that caregivers from professional caregiving service providers are trustworthy, if they are bound to reliable companies, and that you have the backing of a company who takes responsibility for the care instead of an agent or freelancer.

CARE Pros (nurses, therapists & caregivers) from CARE Concierge, for example, are the only ones in Malaysia who are certified by established universities. They also undergo their certification and checks before being sent out to homes.

Aiming to raise the standards of caregiving in Malaysia, a partnership between CARE Concierge and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) has developed a wholesome training module to educate caregivers-to-be on the important aspects of caregiving.

Candidates who have successfully completed the training program will be awarded the ‘Certificate of Caregiving’ by UTAR.

The caregivers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the best care for people, be it the elderly, or those with specialized needs such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s etc.

When providing care for your elderly, the caregivers from CARE Concierge do not work alone. They are backed by a team of professionals such as doctors, registered nurses, and other CARE Professionals. This support system ensures that the care recipient receives the best care, and that the caregiver receives the necessary support.

Still feeling uneasy having strangers at home?

Getting a professional caregiver from a caregiver service provider offers you more comfort and security. Most caregiver service providers would have done the necessary checks to ensure that the caregiver being sent to your home is trained and trustworthy, and will be able to provide the best care.

If you are engaging with caregivers on a freelance basis and do not have the assurance, you are strongly encouraged to keep your previous belongings in a secure place. Setting up CCTVs which can be monitored from your mobile phone from time to time reduces the risk of having the caregiver behave in an unwanted fashion.

Ready to hire a professional caregiver to the home?

It is highly recommended that you discuss this care arrangement with your elderly parent, or the care recipient, before making the decision. Proper communication ensures that every part is aware of the action plan, and can best cooperate in a way that allows the caregiver to carry out their duties at their very best!

There are many ways to love and care for your parents, and one of them includes making sure you look after your own wellbeing, and be the best companion for your elderly parent or care recipient. It is better to trust the caregiving duties to a professional caregiver, so that you can avoid being a taskmaster, and focus more on being there for your loved ones as family members.