Forum: Support available to help seniors purchase assistive devices

We thank Mr George Lee for his feedback (Cost of hearing aids and spectacles a burden for seniors, July 15).

We recognise that some seniors may require assistive devices, such as hearing aids and spectacles, to enjoy a better quality of life.

To support these seniors, the Ministry of Health (MOH) provides eligible Singaporeans aged 60 years and above with means-tested subsidies to offset the cost of assistive devices and home healthcare items through the Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF).

Today, more than 90 per cent of the seniors who receive an SMF subsidy for their first set of hearing aids will see the subsidy covering most of the device's cost.

We understand that even as SMF subsidies primarily support seniors with the purchase of their first device, there may be instances where seniors need to purchase a replacement but have no financial means to do so. We will assess such applications for replacement devices on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the senior's circumstances.

MOH has partnered with Temasek Foundation to roll out functional screening in the community via Project Silver Screen (PSS) for Singaporeans aged 60 and above. Under PSS, seniors who are assessed to require hearing aids and/or spectacles will receive corporate vouchers, which can be used on top of the SMF subsidy to further defray the out-of-pocket costs of the devices.

Seniors who face difficulties in acquiring assistive devices may approach their medical institutions or visit any AIC (Agency for Integrated Care) Link for advice and assistance. Financial assistance is available for those who have financial difficulties.

MOH regularly reviews our support measures, to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of Singaporeans.

Charlene Chang

Group Director, Ageing Planning Office

Ministry of Health

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