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Caring for Others
How to better
support others

Making a difference by supporting others

Throughout our lives, some of us may experience hardships and tough periods. When those we care for hit such rough patches, we may notice them acting unusual and showing signs that they are unwell. As someone in their lives, we can play an important role in reaching out and providing the support and comfort they need. For example, we could catch up with them over a meal or coffee, provide them with helpful information and resources, or simply just be there to offer them a listening ear.

While such acts may seem simple, it can make a difference. Knowing that there is someone to talk to and listen without passing judgement, can help them cope better with their struggles.

How impactful can our support be?

Learn why it is important to help others and how providing support and words of comfort can make a big difference

Our actions can make a significant and meaningful difference to those we support

Supporting others can also enrich our own lives

Supporting others can also enrich our own lives

How do we recognise who needs support?

As it may not always be obvious when someone we care for is having a hard time, we can look out for them by paying attention to:

Are we ready to support others?

To better support someone in need, we can ask ourselves:

Are we ready to support others?
  • Consider if we are in the right headspace to offer our assistance
  • Check that we have sufficient time to meet their needs
  • Understand that it may be difficult for people to open up and talk about their struggles
  • Be mindful to have patience when hearing them out
  • Remember the purpose of our support (i.e. to provide a listening ear, be a comforting presence, or simply to let them know we are there for them whenever they feel like sharing)

If we do not think we are ready, we can ask someone who can offer better support to do so instead.

How can we provide support?

When supporting others, starting a conversation can be the hardest part. To make it easier, we can keep in mind to:

Pick an appropriate time for the conversation

Pick an appropriate time for the conversation

Let them know why we would like to have a conversation with them

Let them know why we would like to have a conversation with them

Choose a quiet environment with enough privacy so that we can help them feel comfortable

Choose a quiet environment with enough privacy so that we can help them feel comfortable

To show our support for them, we can also act with CARE. Click on the CARE buttons below to learn what they stand for:


How can we
follow up after
our conversation?

How can we better support seniors?

As seniors enter their golden years, we may start to see changes in their health and lifestyles. When supporting them, we can care for their mental well-being just like we would their physical health.

To do so, we can:

Be more observant

They may feel reluctant to speak up in fear of being a burden. To make it easier for them to share their troubles with us, we can try being more sensitive to their behaviours.

For example, we can:

  • Observe their body language to better understand their feelings and thoughts
  • Break the ice by asking simple questions like “Have you eaten?”

Be patient

Sometimes, seniors may face difficulties communicating due to language barriers, troubles with their hearing, or dementia. We should try to be empathetic and patient with them as well as accommodate them where we can.

For example, we can:

  • Try to speak slowly and use simple words
  • Repeat ourselves (avoid getting frustrated or angry if we need to do so more than once)
  • Use other tools like writing or gestures to try to convey our message
  • Learn short phrases in their preferred language such as Malay, or dialects like Hokkien and Cantonese to help them get more comfortable with sharing

Stay in touch

We can also support seniors by spending time with them. This makes them feel cared for and allows us to connect with them.

For example, we can:

  • Bring them out for a meal or drink
  • Plan and schedule outings together with them
  • Check-in with them through visits or regular phone calls (if we do not live with them)
  • Accompany them to places where they may have the opportunity to foster new friendships
How can we better support seniors?

Supporting ourselves while caring for others

Supporting those around us while juggling our own life’s demands can take a toll on our physical and mental well-being and make it harder for us to support those we care for. Hence, it is important for us to practise and prioritise self-care. It is also important to remember that there is no need to feel guilty about attending to our needs.

Refer to these tips on managing stress and emotions to keep ourselves healthy.

Supporting ourselves while caring for others

Discover your
supporting style

Curious about how you support others? Try this fun quiz to find out what your style is and learn some tips to boost your supportive skills!

Start quiz
Discover your supporting style

Useful resources and services

Thinking of checking in with someone we care for? Try these tools, chat stickers, and other useful resources to help prepare and manage the conversation with ease.

How can we better
support someone?

How can we better  support someone?

Virtual Journey to Better
Support Others

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Tips to CARE for Others

Tips to CARE for Others

Learn more
All-rays Here For You

Here For You

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Hi There, Let’s Chat

Hi There,
Let’s Chat

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Download these e-greetings (choose your preferred language) and pass them along to encourage, show your support or to simply bring a smile to someone you care for.

Not sure where else they can seek support? Direct them to explore these mental health resources so they can find one suitable for their needs.

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