Build cluster retirement homes on a large scale

I encourage the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to take on the task of building affordable cluster retirement homes on a large scale ("High-tech nursing homes ideal for elderly" by Dr George Wong Seow Choon; June 1).

These should be located just outside the city fringe, at the midpoint between workplaces and residential areas, so that the commute will be easy for family members. It will also be convenient for retirees to visit their family and assimilate into society.

The retirement homes should be split into four categories - single bed, two-bedder/living couple unit, four-bedder room and eight-bedder room. All should be fully fitted with toilet and living room facilities, a small pantry, as well as in-house exercise facilities for rehabilitation, and basic medical services.

NTUC can take advantage of the prevailing soft economic conditions to build the homes.

The Government can provide land and grants to finance this massive project.

NTUC can also develop a voluntary annuity plan through its insurance arm, where Singaporeans can contribute part of their monthly Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings for the retirement homes.

The retirement homes can be allocated to those who take up and contribute to the annuity plan, when they reach the age of 68.

In this way, coupled with the monthly payouts from the CPF Life annuity scheme, Singaporeans can be assured of a fully paid and comfortable home upon retirement.

We cannot continue to rely on a ready supply of maids and employ them to look after our aged or sick in their own homes. We need to plan for contingencies and start saving early.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline 'Build cluster retirement homes on a large scale'. Print Edition | Subscribe