SINGAPORE - The country's first "retirement kampung", located in Admiralty, saw its first residents collecting keys to their new apartments on Saturday (Aug 12).
The two blocks of Housing Board flats meant for the elderly, comprising 104 studio apartments in total, are the first-of-its-kind in Singapore to feature elderly-friendly features for seniors to live independently and actively.
Known as Kampung Admiralty, the new development includes a two-level Admiralty Medical Centre that is managed by the Alexandra Health System which offers specialist outpatient consultations, endoscopy and day surgery procedures.
The medical and surgical services, which opened in phases last month (July), allows residents to seek treatment without having to travel long distances. This includes treatment for elderly health issues, such as diabetes, eye-related conditions, or those that require orthopaedic and hand surgery.
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Within the homes, HDB also installs fittings - previously not introduced to other flats - so as to make home living safer and easier for the elderly.
For instance, induction hobs do not have an open flame and are easier to clean as compared to gas stoves, and the retractable clothes drying rack allow indoor and outdoor drying of laundry with less effort.
Each unit also comes with resilient vinyl strip flooring that are slip- and moisture-resistant, as well as being easier to clean.
A hawker centre with 43 food stalls, which is managed by NTUC Foodfare, is slated to open in September. Ample community spaces and programmes are also provided for residents to interact and age actively.
To date, 103 out of 104 units at Kampung Admiralty were snapped up after the flats were first offered in the July 2014 Build-to-Order exercise. They are mostly sold on 30-year leases.
Of the 103 units, 44 were booked under the Studio Apartment Priority Scheme (SAPS) and the Senior Priority Scheme (SPS).
These schemes gives priority to elderly residents who wish to age in a familiar environment or those who want to live near their married child or parents.
Around 60 per cent of the new residents came from Woodlands or nearby towns.
The project was conceived and launched by the Ministry of National Development in 2014.
But it took the collective effort of several agencies - the HDB, Ministry of Health, Alexandra Health System, National Environment Agency, National Parks Board, Land Transport Authority and Early Childhood Development Agency - to put the various features together under one roof.
At the kampung's first community day on Saturday, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, said there have been occasional calls for retirement villages here, emulating those seen in Australia and the US.
Rather than a retirement village run by private operators, Kampung Admiralty is a Government-led effort so that "seniors can live happily, actively and healthily in a HDB town", he added.
To achieve this, Mr Khaw, adviser to Sembawang's Grassroots Organisations, said Kampung Admiralty is designed to fight against loneliness, ill-health, depression and inconsiderate behaviour by encouraging inter-generational bonding, social interactions and active ageing.
"To test it out, URA set aside a piece of land, put it out to tender for such a retirement village, but the market was not enthusiastic. We were not surprised by the outcome… Kampung Admiralty (is) an experiment on how such a concept could be implemented," said Mr Khaw.