Subsidies for aged care: AIC replies

We thank Ms Ho Whei Chern for her feedback ("Ageing in place: Too much red tape for family"; last Sunday).

The Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF) provides subsidies for mobility aids and devices. Singaporeans aged 60 and above with a household monthly income per person of $1,800 or below, and who require these devices, can qualify for the SMF.

If seniors have a valid Community Health Assist Scheme card, no further means testing is needed for SMF.

We agree with Ms Ho that access to the SMF should be client-centred and hassle-free for families. For SMF subsidies for a commode, which Ms Ho had inquired about, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) had suggested arranging for a therapist to visit her grandmother-in-law to assess her care needs and recommend an appropriate device.

Ms Ho shared that she had already purchased a commode and did not pursue the matter further. Such assessments would have been at no cost to seniors who require SMF devices.

For added convenience, there are currently more than 80 access points islandwide for people to apply for the SMF, including day and senior care centres, and public and community hospitals. If a senior is receiving care at any of these places, they would be able to assist the senior and families with the assessment and application.

Alternatively, AIC is able to arrange for its own therapist to visit the senior at home, and recommend the appropriate device. A special trip to the hospital for an assessment is, hence, not necessary. The SMF also subsidises consumables, such as adult

diapers, which Ms Ho had also inquired about. Very frail seniors who need and are receiving Ministry of Health-subsidised home healthcare services can apply for the SMF to further defray the cost of care.

We have since contacted Ms Ho to better address her concerns and explain our SMF application process further. We will continue to review and improve our processes.

The public can call the Singapore Silver Line on 1800-650-6060 or visit our AICare Links for more information on the SMF and assistance for aged care.

To find an AICare Link near you, please visit www.silverpages.sg/aicarelink

Andy Seet
Director
Corporate and Marketing Communications
Agency for Integrated Care

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 19, 2015, with the headline 'Subsidies for aged care: AIC replies'. Print Edition | Subscribe