Partners from the Community Care, Corporate and Public Sectors,
MOH and AIC Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you once again to celebrate Community Care Day this year.
A Timely Tribute
2. I would like to first take the chance to express my deepest appreciation to all of you. The past few weeks have been extremely challenging. The spike in community cases, has put a heavy strain on you and our healthcare sector. But because of your hard work, commitment and support, our seniors are safe and protected. They can live and age well, despite these challenging times. Your resilience and perseverance have been instrumental in our national fight against COVID-19.
Celebrating Our Achievements Against COVID-19
3. Our seniors are better protected today from the virus because of your tireless and persistent efforts. 87% of seniors aged 70 and above are fully vaccinated. Over 200,000 seniors have received their booster doses. Many of you engaged the seniors and their families, especially those who were hesitant. On top of the vaccination efforts in our elderly centres and nursing homes, we also deployed 33 Home Vaccination Teams from six Community Care providers and General Practitioners. Over 95% of the Community Care workforce have also been fully vaccinated, with many older staff receiving their booster shots. I encourage you to quickly get your booster shot if you have already been vaccinated. And if you’re not vaccinated, don’t wait and hesitate, get vaccinated immediately. I also thank all community care providers for adapting to the simplified COVID-19 healthcare protocols, ensuring service continuity for our seniors.
4. The sector has also banded together as OneCommCare. For example, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, Vanguard Healthcare, Peacehaven Nursing Home and NTUC Healthcare have shared their resources to support the other nursing homes affected by COVID-19. A strong display of teamwork!
Advancing Forward with New Innovations and Enhancements
5. Despite the ongoing crisis, we must not waver in our core mission to enable seniors to live well and age well with dignity. We have made progress. Earlier this year, I shared our plans to introduce over 200 Active Ageing Centres and Care Hubs into our new elderly care service over the next three years. Key nodes in our social support and care landscape, which offer “ABC” services – Active ageing programmes, Befriending, and connecting to Care services. We have since rolled out 60 such centres and hubs, with 50 more next year.
6. Many seniors have already benefited from the suite of services, including 77-year-old Mdm Ivy Goh. She first heard about Fei Yue’s Active Ageing Centre near her home from one of the befrienders in May. Five months later, Mdm Goh continues to participate in daily exercises and weekly Bingo games at the centre. She also receives health checks by a nurse who visits monthly. Having lost a loved one earlier this year, Mdm Goh shared that the care and concern she received from her befriender, centre staff and peers supported her through her grief. She enjoys the company at the centre and strongly encourages other seniors to join her. Many other seniors, just like Mdm Goh, have also benefitted. I am glad that we can enable them to live well and age well with dignity.
7. Next, we have also better integrated care for seniors and their caregivers. We aim to enable families to better support their loved ones to age well in the community. Together with Fei Yue and AMKFSC Community Services, AIC has rolled out Post Diagnostic Support services to equip persons with dementia and their caregivers with information on dementia and its management, and post-diagnosis care support. Caregivers are also connected to a caregiver peer network for social and emotional support. These initiatives, and many others like it, help to bridge the gap between the seniors, families, and the services they need.
8. The pandemic has also driven the importance of finding new ways to improve our care delivery and outreach. I encourage the sector to continually innovate, tap on digitalisation to help you do your work better, and foster stronger collaborations with the wider healthcare and social service sector. So that we can deliver better care and support to our seniors.
Enlarged Support from Friends of Community Care (FOCC)
9. Last but not least, our Friends of Community Care Awards. We first launched it last year to recognise partners outside the Community Care sector for supporting our growth. This year, we expanded the awards to feature new categories including big and small corporations, government and public institutions, as well as non-profit organisations.
10. Our Community Care sector have been deeply encouraged by the strong display of support by many big-hearted organisations and their spirit of volunteerism. Individuals have also contributed, like Mr Low Boon Chuan, the owner of Boon Keng Road Fish Head Bee Hoon. On top of running his hawker stall in Bedok, Mr Low volunteers with Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities as a delivery driver for their events. He has also been sponsoring fish porridge to vulnerable seniors, and inspired his friends to join him in this effort. Since January, Mr Low has provided over 8,000 packets of fish porridge to benefit thousands of seniors island wide.
11. My sincere appreciation goes out to supporters like Mr Low, and all our Friends of Community Care award winners. It is such acts of generosity and kindness, by corporates, community partners and volunteers from all walks of life, that makes Singapore a good society. Where we all share a collective responsibility in caring and looking out for our seniors and those in need. I look forward to the award presentation shortly, and I encourage more to join us in supporting the good and noble work of the sector.
12. In closing, let’s continue to work together and to stay resilient and adaptable, as we forge our path ahead towards becoming a COVID-resilient nation. Together with your continued support, we will get there, and make Singapore one of the best places to age in. Once again, to our Community Care workers and friends, I thank you for your contributions, commitment and passion.
13. I wish everyone a happy Community Care Day. Thank you.