Schemes to help seniors

New initiatives to ensure the elderly get the care they need, and expand the pool of engineers in the public service, were announced yesterday. Chong Zi Liang reports.

A nurse helping an elderly patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).
A nurse helping an elderly patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). PHOTO: ST FILE

The Health Ministry yesterday announced a series of measures aimed at providing better care for seniors as the population ages.

As Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat told the House, it is not feasible to meet future healthcare demand by simply building more hospitals and hiring more healthcare workers.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said a new pilot programme called Eldercarer will train a new corps of foreign domestic workers to give specialised care to seniors. It will include a four-day course teaching participants how to prevent falls and communicate with the elderly, among other things.

Seniors will also be paired with more informal caregivers who can visit them often and help with their needs.

Community help will be further strengthened through new Integrated Home and DayCare packages covering a range of services, such as transportation to daycare centres and meal delivery.

The ministry will also work with HDB to build "Active Ageing Hubs" in new HDB developments, making them centres where seniors can get services ranging from grocery deliveries to daycare and rehabilitation.

It will also work with the Education Ministry to set up a National Silver Academy to promote learning among seniors. It will offer more than 10,000 places in over 500 courses.

The academy is not a physical campus. Instead, Singaporeans aged 50 and older can take selected courses at Institutes of Technical Education, polytechnics and universities for a token fee. They will attend classes with existing students.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2016, with the headline 'Schemes to help seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe