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Work towards integrated model of eldercare

It is reassuring to read that the Ministry of Health is looking towards new models of home-based care services to diversify the eldercare options that we have in Singapore ("Growing old: Should you be worried?"; Nov 6).

It is important that we do not treat these facilities as separate entities, but instead, create an integrated care system that supports the transition between different care facilities throughout the ageing phases.

For instance, while promoting active ageing in assisted living environments, we should also educate the elderly on preparing for later stages in life, when they would require more intensive nursing care and medical attention. This would inform and empower the elderly to take on an active role in the management of their health and well-being.

We can also incorporate technology to monitor their care. Appropriate use of the data collected would better facilitate chronic disease management across different care facilities and enable healthcare professionals to readily address the needs of the elderly.

Besides the clinical setting, we should also reach out to families and communities. They are also important stakeholders and partners in our healthcare system.

Greater social support should be provided for caregivers, in the form of proper training in chronic disease management and community-based support networks to relieve their stress and improve their quality of life.

Moreover, through increasing efforts in the volunteering sector, for instance, by having senior volunteers befriend less privileged seniors, we are able to better complement the needs of our community.

By creating an integrated model of eldercare, we can better maximise our resources towards healthcare management, while ensuring good quality of life for our elders.

Ageing should not be feared but embraced as we move towards healthy active ageing as a community.

Khoo Zi Rui (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 20, 2016, with the headline 'Work towards integrated model of eldercare'. Subscribe