Wed, Dec 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers seek support for family caregivers bill

‘WARMTH AND SUPPORT’:The legislators called for a babysitter-relative subsidy to be extended to people who take care of their older family members at home

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Three Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday sought support for their proposed amendment to the Long-Term Care Services Act (長期照護服務法) that would offer government subsidies to people who take care of their older family members at home.

It has been estimated that nearly 740,000 Taiwanese are in need of long-term care, a task that requires a workforce of more than 60,000 people, said KMT Legislator Chang Li-shan (張麗善), one of the lawmakers who drafted the amendment in September.

“However, there are only about 20,000 caregivers in the nation at the moment,” Chang told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, adding that the need for long-term care services would only grow after the nation transforms from an “aging society” into a “hyper-aged society” in 2025.

A society is called an “aging society” when people aged 65 years and older account for at least 7 percent of the total population.

That appellation is changed to “aged society” and “hyper-aged society” when the percentage of the older population reaches 14 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Only 8 percent of senior citizens who need long-term care services are institutionalized, while the rest are either being taken care of at home by migrant workers or family members, Chang said.

“We have all heard of the famous saying: ‘Chronic illness drives away even the most filial son.’ Long-term pressure can lead to family tragedies,” Chang said.

“I believe family members will be more willing to assume caregiving roles if we offer them a little warmth and support,” she said, adding that family caregivers should be offered a subsidy given to grandparents trained to babysit children.

The government offers a monthly subsidy of between NT$2,000 and NT$5,000 to babysitters who are a child’s relatives within three degrees of kinship.

The Civil Code stipulates that a person’s first-degree relative is a parent or child; second-degree is a grandparent, grandchild or sibling; and third-degree relatives are great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, great-grandchildren and nieces.

The draft amendment would offer subsidies to caregivers who are a senior citizen’s family members within three degrees of kinship and have received proper training, with the goal of narrowing the gap between the number of available trained caretakers and demand for such personnel.

The bill is pending a review by the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.

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