Seraphina (back row, centre) with sister Janetta (front row, right)
Taking on the role of a caregiver can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. It takes strength and a loving heart to provide physical support and emotional encouragement round the clock. 21-year-old Seraphina Tan is an individual with such a big heart. She is her elder sister’s main caregiver ever since a traffic accident five years ago left the latter paralysed from the waist down.
Only 16 years old then and the youngest in the family, Seraphina took up the mantle of caring for her then 20-year-old sister, Janetta, as she wanted to relieve the burden on her parents. Her father works long hours as a taxi driver and is the family’s sole breadwinner, while her mother had some health concerns. The circumstances forced Seraphina to grow up faster than her peers and adapt quickly to the many hats that she had to wear – that of a good student, a caring sister and an effective caregiver. It was no longer just about doing well in school but also managing her sister’s every need.
Different as night and day, the two sisters had to adjust to each other’s personalities initially, but the tough times that they went through together eventually created a special bond between them.
Thanks to Seraphina’s constant care, Janetta is coping well and has also recently completed her undergraduate degree at the Singapore Institute of Management. Determined to be independent, Janetta is currently undergoing vocational rehabilitation and seeking employment support at SPD’s Transition Programme for Employment. Meanwhile, Seraphina continues her caregiving role, while pursuing her studies at the Nanyang Technological University.
For her care and dedication, Seraphina was awarded the 2015 AWWA Young Model Caregiver Award. We congratulate Seraphina on receiving this award and hope her story will inspire others in the same role.