Seniors' group homes still a good model

Residents at Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens.
Residents at Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Despite low take-up rates, group homes for senior are still a good model for elderly people to age in place ("Seniors' home scheme under review"; last Friday, and "Seek balance in seniors' homes"; yesterday).

Like all pilot schemes, there will be initial hiccups, and group homes for seniors are no exception.

The most important factor in the success of such homes is the willingness of all parties to change and to compromise.

Other factors are respect and consideration of the desires, responsibilities and needs of each flatmate involved.

Though no one can foresee the future, such issues should be clarified as much as possible before, not after, people decide to share a room.

It is easier to establish new ground rules in an environment that is new to everybody.

Like all pilot schemes, there will be initial hiccups, and group homes for seniors are no exception. The most important factor in the success of such homes is the willingness of all parties to change and to compromise.

The need to review the home model is important, and both the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Health should work in partnership with voluntary welfare organisations for better coordination and monitoring of services in the areas of social activities and healthcare.

Stringent selection and proper placement of residents will lower the chances of conflict and disagreement.

Another aspect that should not be ignored is resident feedback and suggestions which can be components of quality shared living.

One logical and effective way to improve take-up rates for senior group homes is to tweak the eligibility criteria to accept seniors based on need.

Above all, voluntary welfare organisations which run these homes should nurture staff attitudes and relationships with their residents.

With active, concerned and informed administration, coupled with community involvement, the well-being of residents can be improved further.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Seniors' group homes still a good model'. Print Edition | Subscribe