1. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be rolling out a new baseline service at eldercare centres to serve all seniors nationwide. As part of the service, each eldercare centre will serve as the go-to point for all seniors in their community and provide an “ABC” suite of services. These consist of active ageing programmes, befriending or buddying, and information and referral to care services. The new baseline service will be implemented in phases from 2021.
Nationwide Support for All Seniors
2. Strong community support is key to ensuring that seniors can enjoy good health in their old age. Today, there are about 130 Senior Activity Centres providing active ageing, preventive health and social support programming primarily to residents in rental flats and studio apartments. In addition, there are about 150 Senior Care Centres and Active Ageing Hubs which cater to seniors who are more frail and require additional care services such as day care or community rehabilitation.
3. To enhance support to seniors nationwide regardless of their housing type, income, or frailty levels, a new baseline service will be progressively rolled out to these centres (collectively referred to as “eldercare centres”). This would further our goals of helping seniors age healthily, having timely access to quality care, staying connected to the community, and contributing as they wish.
Comprehensive “ABC” Suite of Support
4. With the baseline service, each eldercare centre will serve as the go-to point for all seniors and provide a suite of services including active ageing programmes, befriending or buddying, and information and referral to care services. Through the eldercare centres, seniors can look forward to regular programmes in their community and volunteering opportunities to help other seniors. The eldercare centres will also proactively engage seniors to ensure that their needs are addressed promptly. Seniors with poorer social support will receive befriending and buddying services, and seniors with higher care needs will continue to be referred to the appropriate care services, such as home care e.g. home medical or home nursing, or centre-based care e.g. day care or centre based rehabilitation services.
5. Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said, “Longer life expectancy is a gift to celebrate, and we can do more of the things we enjoy if we stay fit and healthy. With the new baseline service model, seniors will have more opportunities to stay active and take charge of their health. Seniors and their caregivers will also be better able to navigate the social and health support available. I look forward to eldercare centres adding to the vibrancy of each community, and seniors participating or volunteering actively to help other seniors in their midst.”
6. Eldercare centres will be brought on board the new model in phases from May 2021 to 2024. This will allow eldercare centres sufficient time to ramp up their resources and level up their capabilities before transiting to the new model. MOH will also incorporate feedback from stakeholders to refine the model and its services along the way. MOH and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) have been engaging eldercare centres on the new model since November 2020 and will be working with them to facilitate the transition.
7. MOH will continue to work with seniors, their caregivers, the eldercare centre providers, and other stakeholders in the public, private and people sectors to raise the capabilities and competencies of eldercare centres to enhance support for seniors.