Tackle issue of homeless elderly

Singapore's recent chilly weather has shone a spotlight on homeless people here, especially the elderly (Restaurant owner gives out blankets to those sleeping on Chinatown streets as cool weather continues; ST Online, Jan 13).

It is sad to see the elderly living in such conditions; they should be in warm and comfortable homes in this phase of their lives.

Some of them are avoiding police and social workers, as they believe their freedom would be restricted if they were made to live in an old folks' home.

Whatever their reasons for ending up in this state, they are a social problem that the Ministry of Social and Family Development should make a bigger effort to look into.

Perhaps portable one-man sleeping pods (similar to those found in Japan) can be set up for them at a nominal fee.

An old commercial building could also be partitioned into many single rooms, with common toilet facilities, to house them.

Social workers must exercise patience in connecting with these people to find out their real reasons for sleeping on the streets.

Rachel Tan Wee Cho (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2018, with the headline 'Tackle issue of homeless elderly'. Print Edition | Subscribe