Various programmes exist to help seniors age in place

We thank Mr John Lim Le Sheng for his views on supporting ageing in place (Plug gap in eldercare with assisted living facilities; Nov 27).

The Health Ministry is doing this in various ways. Since 2012, the number of day care places has expanded from 2,100 to 4,000 places, and home care places from 3,800 to 7,500 places today.

We are on target to grow this to 6,200 day care and 10,000 home care places by 2020.

We are also integrating care within new housing precincts through "Active Ageing Hubs" (AAHs) such as in Kallang-Whampoa and Kampung Admiralty.

These are one-stop day centres for seniors that can provide active ageing services for ambulant and healthy seniors, as well as day care and day rehab services for those who are frailer. We plan to build 10 AAHs in new housing developments by 2020.

We are developing a continuum of care for seniors in selected new housing estates.

An example is the Tampines North Nursing Home, where the design and connectivity of the eldercare facilities (that is, day care and residential care) have been integrated with the adjacent public housing development at Tampines GreenWeave, so that we have independent living, assisted living and nursing care all within the same area.

We are also systematically improving our public transport system and refreshing our housing estates.

Since 2006, all new public housing estates have barrier-free designs.

The HDB's Enhancement for Active Seniors programme provides highly subsidised retrofits like grab-bars and non-slip flooring for existing flats to improve the home environment of our seniors.

For transport, we have expanded the Silver Zones Programme to enhance road safety for seniors, made more crossings barrier-free, and improved access to public transport.

The National Parks Board is also developing a network of "therapeutic gardens" to encourage our seniors to visit our public parks and stay active.

We thank Mr Lim for his suggestions. We continue to study new forms of housing and care options for seniors to age-in-place.

Lim Siok Peng (Ms)

Director, Corporate Communications Division

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline 'Various programmes exist to help seniors age in place'. Print Edition | Subscribe