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Convert empty schools into nursing homes

The report on Nov 6 noted that nearly half a million people in Singapore are 65 and older today, and the number is set to double by 2030 ("Growing old: Should you be worried?").

With smaller families and a large number of people who have chosen not to get married, more people will not be able to grow old with their families and may need to live in nursing homes.

However, with a shortage of land and manpower, there are insufficient nursing homes here.

It is time our Government took a closer look at the problem.

The merger of schools as a result of insufficient enrolment means there are many vacant school buildings in neighbourhood estates, some of which are relatively new and have basic infrastructure such as lifts and ramps.

The Government could consider converting these buildings into homes for the aged. Community Improvement Projects Committee funding, which has been used to finance recreational and infrastructural facilities, as well as community amenities in HDB estates, could be tapped for this purpose.

Letting ageing residents live in a community home within their estate would best serve their needs. Instead of tearing down empty school buildings, which were built at great expense, could we not look into renovating and refurbishing them into homes for the aged, supported by the community?

Ronnie Lim Ah Bee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 27, 2016, with the headline 'Convert empty schools into nursing homes'. Print Edition | Subscribe