Parliament: More to be done for seniors in HDB estates

The Government is exploring a new "assisted living" model that integrates public housing with eldercare services. ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR

SINGAPORE - A new "assisted living" model that integrates public housing with eldercare services is being explored by the Government in response to Singapore's rapidly ageing population.

For example, within the same block or even on the same floor, there may be individual apartment units for seniors, together with communal facilities for dining, activities and a range of eldercare services.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament on Tuesday (March 6) that his ministry is working with the Health Ministry to pilot this in HDB estates.

Mr Wong added MND will also study ways to do this in private developments.

During the debate on his ministry's budget, Mr Wong said special attention will be paid to seniors in housing due to Singapore's rapidly ageing demographics, in response to Mr Darryl David's (Ang Mo Kio GRC) question about how public housing will be improved.

This will be done through possibly updating the Enhancement for Active Seniors (Ease) programme, which has been offered from July 2012 under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP). It helps to install subsidised senior-friendly features in flats, such as grab bars and anti-slip treatment to bathroom tiles.

"We are studying what more we can do under Ease - one particular item we are looking at is to include assistance for those living in flats with multi-step entrances," said Mr Wong.

He added that the selection of flats to undergo the HIP will be done by year end. The scheme is meant for flats built up to 1986, and the works are expected to be completed around 2022.

This was in response to Mr Chong Kee Hiong (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), who had asked how the ministry is rejuvenating ageing estates.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.