Forum: HDB will continue to improve estates to benefit seniors who prefer to age in place

We thank Mr Christopher Lo Chi Ngai for his feedback (Families should better prepare to make home more elderly friendly, May 3).

We agree with Mr Lo on the importance of making homes conducive for the elderly.

Since 2006, all new HDB developments have been built with universal design principles and barrier-free access to create an inclusive and user-friendly living environment for all ages.

For example, flats now have wider corridors and doorways to facilitate wheelchair movement. There is lift access to every floor, and lift buttons come in contrasting colours for greater visibility. Precincts are also designed with gentle sloping ramps along barrier-free routes.

To enhance the safety and mobility of seniors living in existing flats, HDB has the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme, part of our Home Improvement Programme, which residents can apply to.

Ease provides residents with senior-friendly improvements such as slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles of toilets and bathrooms, grab bars, and ramps within the flat and at the main entrance, at highly subsidised rates.

Our ramp solutions range from single-step ramps to portable and customised ramps for flats with multi-step entrances.

For flats where ramps cannot be installed due to site constraints, HDB has worked with the industry to design a lightweight and compact mechanical wheelchair lifter suitable for HDB estates.

Last year, we also launched the first pilot Community Care Apartments in Bukit Batok. This is a new public housing typology that integrates senior-friendly housing with social activities and care services that can be scaled according to individual needs, to support our seniors to age independently within the community. The second pilot will be launched later this year in the upcoming Health District @ Queenstown.

We will continue to improve existing HDB estates to benefit elderly residents who prefer to age in place. To this end, the pilot Health District @ Queenstown will enable us to test-bed solutions to enhance the well-being of our seniors and, subsequently, offer opportunities to scale such solutions to other towns in Singapore.

This is in line with HDB's Designing for Life road map, where we will continue to anticipate future needs and develop initiatives to enhance the health and wellness of Singaporeans across different life stages.

Brian Low

Director (Landscape and Design)

Housing and Development Board

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