Changes needed in community eldercare services

There is a need for policymakers and service organisations to review the status of community eldercare services and to update its practices.

There are two areas which can be revamped.

The first is the medical escort and transport (MET) service, which provides the elderly going to hospitals or polyclinics for medical appointments with an attendant and two-way transport.

The problem is that demand is greater than supply. The elderly who are unable to get the service have to default on or reschedule their appointment. This may have implications for their health.

There are also different service providers for the MET, and each has its own set of policies. Standardising this would result in greater levels of efficiency and satisfaction to users.

Platforms to provide feedback to the service provider are also lacking. These agencies need to up the ante, develop closer collaboration with all stakeholders, review feedback with an open mind and prepare for change.

The second area that could benefit from a revamp is the Meals-on-Wheels service, which delivers packed meals to the elderly who are home-bound.

There is little variety in the meals delivered, with the same menus almost every week.

There is also no option for diabetic meals - an elderly person with diabetes would receive the same meal as a person without diabetes.

There is an urgent need for bold changes to bring about positive change to the community eldercare sector.

Foo Kwang Sai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2017, with the headline 'Changes needed in community eldercare services'. Print Edition | Subscribe