3 more PCF senior-care centres to open by 2019

Seniors at PCF's new Sparkle Care centre in Yew Tee engaging in an arts and crafts activity yesterday.
Seniors at PCF's new Sparkle Care centre in Yew Tee engaging in an arts and crafts activity yesterday.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

New centres will raise total to five and help to meet needs of an ageing population

The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) will open three more senior-care centres within the next two years, bringing the total to five.

This will help meet the needs of an ageing population, which will increasingly need such care, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong yesterday.

"The needs are very real," said Mr Wong, who also chairs PCF's Council of Management.

"Over a period of time, we hope that PCF - just as it is synonymous (with) pre-schools now - will also be known as a provider of quality senior-care service."

Building infrastructure to help the elderly grow old in familiar surroundings has been one of the Health Ministry's priorities in recent years. It plans to have 10,000 home-care and 6,200 daycare places for the elderly by 2020. These numbers stand at around 7,500 and 4,000 respectively now.

Mr Wong made the announcement about the upcoming Sparkle Care centres at the official opening of PCF's second such centre in Yew Tee yesterday morning.

Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP Alex Yam said that while Yew Tee is a relatively young town, Singapore's rapidly ageing population means that it is good to be prepared. "It is important for us to put in services before the peak comes," he said.

ADDRESSING REAL NEEDS

The needs are very real. Over a period of time, we hope that PCF - just as it is synonymous (with) pre-schools now - will also be known as a provider of quality senior-care service

MINISTER FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAWRENCE WONG, on how Singapore's ageing population will increasingly need such care.

Mr Lim Yong Aik, 79, has been going to the Yew Tee daycare centre from Mondays to Fridays with his wife, who has dementia.

"We used to go to another daycare centre in Admiralty, but it took us an hour to get there," said Mr Lim, who lives in Choa Chu Kang. "Here, they pick us up from our home, so it takes only around 15 minutes."

PCF's first foray into eldercare started with the first Sparkle Care centre in Simei in 2015. The Yew Tee centre began operations in February this year.

Part of the programme involves inter-generational bonding opportunities, where pre-schoolers from nearby Sparkletots centres visit the seniors. Together, both centres offer a total of around 120 daily daycare places. They currently care for about 225 seniors, not all of whom attend every day.

Many may have trouble caring for themselves at home, and to help family members cope, PCF also organises caregiver support and training programmes.

Mr Tan Song Mong, director of PCF's senior-care division, said that the foundation learnt many things from operating its very first centre. These lessons were incorporated in the running of its newest centre, he said.

"For example, patients with advanced dementia need quiet sometimes," he said. "So, we have more private spaces for them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline '3 more PCF senior-care centres to open by 2019'. Print Edition | Subscribe