We thank Mr Wong Poh Khwai for his suggestions on helping the elderly live independently and with dignity in the final leg of their journey (Improve facilities for seniors to live independently, Feb 5).
Most seniors prefer to age in place in the community and it is important that we support them to do so.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of National Development and the Housing Board jointly launched the community care apartments, the first public housing assisted living flats in Singapore, in February last year.
Designed in consultation with seniors, the community care apartments integrate senior-friendly design features with care services that can be scaled up as individual care needs increase. Services and programmes will also be run to encourage social interaction among residents.
We plan to launch more community care apartments. At the same time, as this is a new concept, we will study these pilots and make adjustments before firming up longer-term plans. We are also looking at ways to catalyse private sector-led models of assisted living, with plans for a pilot under way.
Beyond housing options, MOH has also put in place support structures and services for seniors. We help seniors who are well to stay active and healthy through various active ageing programmes.
The eldercare centres nationwide serve as convenient go-to points for all seniors and address their health, psychosocial and care needs. Seniors with higher care needs can be referred to the appropriate care services, such as home care or centre-based care.
Frail seniors residing at nursing homes are provided with recreational facilities and activities to keep them meaningfully engaged.
Providers are also using technology more to support their residents’ socio-emotional needs, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. One example of that is helping residents connect with their loved ones via video-conferencing. Residents also enjoy virtual activities such as online programmes organised by partners like the National Heritage Board and Mandai Wildlife Reserves.
Planning for ageing is a continuous journey, and we will work closely with our partners to meet the evolving needs of current and future seniors.
Ho Weng Si
Director (Successful Ageing)
Ministry of Health