A caregiver’s advice on knowing when to seek help

Caring for a loved one with chronic conditions involves both physical and mental challenges. A family caregiver shares how patients and caregivers may benefit from having additional support from professionals.

The role of a family caregiver is not one many expect to play. It’s hard to anticipate when a loved one might fall ill and develop a chronic condition that requires long-term care. As a family caregiver, you can take on multiple roles — from aiding with daily activities like dressing, feeding and bathing to coordinating medical appointments and medication administration in addition to staying on top of your finances all at once. The responsibilities and demands on this role can be hugely challenging and may potentially put you at the risk of developing depression, anxiety and burnout over a long period of time.

Christine, 58, has been caring for her husband David (61), who is a heart & diabetic patient. David was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in January 2019. Soon after, he underwent a surgical procedure to have 18-cm of his colon removed together with a 4-cm tumour and 16 of the lymph nodes — three of which were diagnosed with stage IIIB cancer. This resulted in another 11 months of him being put on a temporary stoma — a surgically created opening of an intestine for the purpose of discharging body waste. Due to David’s existing heart and diabetic condition, the family was told that it would be a high-risk procedure, which could potentially result in death. 

We were confused, frightened, devastated, shocked and in denial as there wasn't any family history of colorectal cancer.


Although the diagnosis of colorectal cancer came as a shock, David’s no stranger to medical procedures. In addition to having received angioplasty in 2005, David found out that he had severe stenosis in 2018. This required him to undergo 6 months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Three months later, the doctor discovered another cancerous tumour in his liver which had begun to spread, hence requiring him to undergo radiofrequency ablation. 

Dealing with multiple chronic conditions has not been easy for the couple, who have been married for 32 years now. As they continue to face this emotional journey one day at a time, they found solace in their Christian faith and the support from their church community.

Ramona, Aviva’s Clinical Case Manager, recommended counselling and a nutrition programme which I fully agree that David may benefit from as he is still anxious and concern about the bowel movements and abdominal pain.

Ramona, Aviva’s Clinical Case Manager, recommended counselling and a nutrition programme which I fully agree that David may benefit from as he is still anxious and concern about the bowel movements and abdominal pain.


In August 2020, an elderly friend told them about Aviva’s Patient Support Programme — a healthcare management concierge service for Aviva’s MyShield and MyHealthPlus policyholders who are managing chronic conditions. The programme offers holistic support to kickstart the post-treatment recovery journey for up to 12 months, which includes guidance and training on preventive care, nutrition, stress management and assistance to seek financial aid where necessary. 

In collaboration with Aviva’s home care service provider, each plan is carefully designed to suit the unique healthcare needs of each patient and to aid throughout the post-treatment recovery journey.

"David had a Zoom counselling session once and he has not been able to keep his subsequent appointment due to his lethargy after chemotherapy treatments. Ramona was very patient, friendly, understanding and didn't make me feel stressed. She listened to my concerns attentively and encouraged me. It warms my heart that she texted me every now and then to find out how we are coping. Ramona went through great length to link me to Ling Ling who is a nurse coordinator from one of the Aviva’s home care service providers."

Being on the programme means having a dedicated partner by your side to help manage the illness more effectively and ensure the patient receives optimal support that will promote recovery and enhance quality of life.

If there’s one advice Christine can give to other patients and caregivers in a similar situation, she said,

Accept the help that is available. Do not think "it may not help" because you’ll be surprised by how much of your burdens would be lightened.


Visit Aviva Patient Support Programme to find out more or give us a call at +65 6827 7788.


Need to see a medical specialist?

There are more than 200 specialists across various disciplines on Aviva’s panel. Start your search here or download Aviva ClaimConnect app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store

You can also ask your specialist to help you with pre-approval of your claim before going for your planned hospitalisation and medical treatment.  

Alternatively, speak to your financial adviser representative or 

give us a call to book an appointment

1800 8800 880

Available 24 hours daily

Need additional support for healthcare management?

Whether you're a caregiver or caring for a patient with chronic illnesses, Aviva's Patient Support Programme will help you and your family kick-start the post-treatment recovery journey effectively and gives you greater confidence to go about your life as normally as possible.

Exclusively for MyShield and MyHealthPlus policyholders,  this value-added service offers holistic support and will empower you to take charge of your condition.


Aviva Patient Support Programme hotline

+65 6827 7788

Our hotline is available from Mondays to Fridays, 08:45am to 05:30pm . Closed on weekends and public holidays.

Enjoy reading our articles?

Subscribe to Money Banter to receive useful tips and guides on insurance and offers on products and services.

Thank you for your submission. 

By clicking “Submit”, you consent to Aviva and Aviva related companies contacting you to provide you with information concerning Aviva and Aviva related companies’ products and services and special offers which may be of interest to you. For details of Aviva’s Data Protection Policy, please refer to https://www.aviva.com.sg/en/pdpa/. To withdraw your consent at any time, please call Aviva at +65 6827 7988. 

Important Information

Money Banter (the "Portal") is for general information only and does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation, health condition and needs of any particular person. The contents of this Portal are intended merely for educational purposes and should not be construed as the giving of advice or the making of a recommendation. Nothing contained in this Portal shall constitute a distribution, an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy. We recommend that you discuss any specific matters with your financial adviser representative or legal adviser before making any decision. You are responsible for your own medical care, treatment and oversight, and any health-related content on this Portal, including, text, treatments, dosages, outcomes, charts, profiles, graphics, images, messages and forum postings are strictly information to promote general understanding of certain health topics only, do not constitute the providing of medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice from a physician or other qualified health care provider regarding your medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. This Portal may include information sourced from third parties and links to third party websites. We are not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of, and do not recommend or endorse such information or third party websites nor recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information. While we have taken reasonable care to ensure that the information on this Portal has been obtained from reliable sources and is correct at time of publishing, information may become outdated and opinions may change. Except to the extent prohibited by any law, we are not liable for any loss (including direct, indirect and consequential loss, loss of profits, loss or corruption of data or economic loss of any kind) that may result from the access or use of or reliance on the information on this Portal.  | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.