SINGAPORE - A Housing Board programme to install elder-friendly fittings such as grab bars will now be available to 100,000 more households due to lower age criteria, and will offer improvements to not just one, but two bathrooms.
The Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme, introduced in 2012, seeks to prevent elderly residents from falling at home. Homeowners can choose from fittings such as slip-resistant treatment of floor tiles in one bathroom, and grab bars and ramps in the flat.
"Since its launch, HDB has received feedback from hospitals, beneficiaries and their caregivers, on how Ease could be further enhanced," said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blog post on Friday.
Previously, the scheme was available to Singapore citizen households with an elderly family member who is either at least 70 years old, or aged between 65 and 69, but requiring assistance for at least one of the specified activities of daily living, such as dressing and moving around.
From Friday, it will now be available to citizen households with an elderly member aged at least 65, or aged between 60 and 64 and requiring assistance.
In addition, for households with two bathrooms, slip-resistant floor tile treatment and grab bars will now be offered for the second bathroom as well.
The scheme is subsidised by up to 95 per cent. Households which opt for the full scope of improvement works need pay only between $125 to $312.50, with larger households paying more. The Government covers the rest of the $2,500 cost.
The expanded Ease programme is available in two ways. One is as part of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), an upgrading scheme for older flats. The expanded Ease scheme will apply for future HIP projects polled from Aug 1, and ongoing projects that have not yet been completed. For completed projects, flat owners can apply for the additional improvements directly.
The second way is through direct application online or at HDB branch offices.
Households which have already applied directly but where installation has not yet been carried out will be eligible for the extra improvements. Where installation has been completed, homeowners can still apply for the extra items.