Concerted effort to help seniors age in place

We agree with Mr Sum Kam Weng on the need to incorporate eldercare facilities in our public housing estates so that they can age in place (Make room for seniors in town planning; April 12).

We have been doing so in various ways. Since 2012, the Ministry of Health has expanded the number of daycare places from 2,100 to 4,000 places and homecare places from 3,800 to 7,500 places today.

We are on target to grow this to 6,200 daycare and 10,000 homecare places by 2020.

We have also enhanced the scope of formal home and community care services.

Last year, we started new Integrated Home and Day Care packages to allow seniors to benefit from a flexible mix of home and daycare services that can be tailored to suit their needs.

At the same time, we are integrating care within new housing precincts through Active Ageing Hubs.

These are one-stop day centres for seniors that provide active ageing services for ambulant seniors to daycare, day rehabilitation and assisted living services for seniors who are frailer.

In selected new housing estates, we are working to locate nursing homes and eldercare facilities adjacent to public housing precincts, so that we have a continuum of independent, assisted and nursing care facilities near the same precinct.

To build a City for All Ages, we are systematically improving our public transport system, refreshing our housing estates and parks.

Since 2006, all new public housing projects have been incorporated with Universal Design features to cater to the wide-ranging needs of the community, including those of seniors.

The Housing Board has also provided more housing options such as two-room flexi flats, and offered the Enhancement for Active Seniors programme for existing flats to improve the home environment of our seniors.

For transport, we have expanded the Silver Zones Programme to enhance road safety for seniors, made more crossings barrier-free, and improved access to public transport.

At the same time, the National Parks Board is also developing a network of "therapeutic gardens" to encourage seniors to visit our public parks and to stay active.

We thank Mr Sum for his suggestions. We will continue to provide a mix of options to meet the diverse needs of our seniors and, with community support, to enable our seniors to age with grace and confidence.

Soh Xin Yi (Ms)

Deputy Director (Successful Ageing)

Ageing Planning Office

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2017, with the headline 'Concerted effort to help seniors age in place'. Print Edition | Subscribe