Bukit Batok by-election

Eldercare plans meant to meet future needs: Murali

People's Action Party's candidate for Bukit Batok by-election Mr Murali Pillai greets a resident on a walkabout at Bukit Batok West Avenue 6.
People's Action Party's candidate for Bukit Batok by-election Mr Murali Pillai greets a resident on a walkabout at Bukit Batok West Avenue 6. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai gave more details of his plans to take care of elderly residents in Bukit Batok, should he be elected as the constituency's MP.

These plans include an additional eldercare centre to provide therapy and daycare services, and an "emergency button" service targeted at old folk who live alone.

"At the moment, about one in nine Bukit Batok residents is aged 65 and above.

"Five years from now, obviously more seniors will be among us," he said yesterday, adding that his plans are meant to address future needs in the area.

The eldercare centre will complement services at St Luke's Hospital in Bukit Batok Street 11, which specialises in caring for elderly patients.

 
 

"An additional eldercare centre will help provide more therapy services and daycare services, and we believe this will offer much-needed respite to the caregivers - another category of people we need to look at," Mr Murali said after a morning walkabout to meet residents.

He is looking for suitable sites and wants to have the centre near a bus stop and with ample greenery.

He also hopes to set up a community response network with a proposed "emergency button" service.

He had noticed that there were a number of elderly folk who lived alone.

"This is not the most ideal, especially if you are sick," he said.

He thinks the gadget - a small square device with a button - can help.

The elderly folk can wear it around their neck and press its button to alert neighbours, relatives or community leaders when they need help.

Mr Murali has used his daily walkabouts to elaborate on various programmes that he outlined earlier in his manifesto for Saturday's by-election, such as job placement and youth mentorship schemes.

Asked if these programmes were merely carrots to attract voters, he said it was "quite common" for residents to question how the candidate could bring value to the community, adding: "It is in this context that I have suggested these plans."

The plans are "over and above what we are already doing in Bukit Batok", he added.

"It is actually much more than just these plans. It is a whole system."

Pearl Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Eldercare plans meant to meet future needs: Murali'. Print Edition | Subscribe