SINGAPORE – A new nursing home opened in Jurong on Friday, with operator NTUC Health announcing flexible care options for seniors.
The options include a daycare service on Sundays, when maids usually have their day off, and Day Care +, which enables seniors to take part in activities such as exercise sessions and games virtually from their own homes.
The flexible services are being introduced across NTUC Health’s six nursing homes and 26 senior day care centres as part of efforts to support seniors and their caregivers.
They were announced at the official opening of NTUC Health Jurong Spring in Jurong West Street 52. This is the sixth nursing home run by Singapore’s largest nursing home operator, which has around 1,700 beds, of which about 1,250 are occupied.
By 2030, around one in four Singapore citizens will be at least 65 years old, according to the annual Population In Brief report released in September 2022.
As at 2020, Singapore had about 16,200 nursing home beds, and there are plans to increase this number to more than 31,000 over the next decade.
At Friday’s event, NTUC Health chief executive Chan Su Yee said that while eldercare services have traditionally been longer-term arrangements, observations over the past few years have shown that some families prefer ad hoc alternatives.
“As eldercare needs evolve, we too need to offer a greater variety of care options to better support caregivers and seniors,” she said.
NTUC Health has introduced fitness programmes, including circuit training and gym exercises, as it focuses on preventive health, in line with the Healthier SG initiative announced in 2022.
The social enterprise also encourages independence among seniors at its daycare centres and nursing homes – for example, by getting them to prepare their own beverages.
Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) chief executive Tan Kwang Cheak said: “Offering seniors empowerment and choices to lead their daily lives will bring them a sense of purpose and dignity as they age.”
He said NTUC Health has been working with AIC to upgrade its senior activity centres into active ageing centres that offer an enhanced suite of services, providing elderly residents in the area under each centre’s purview with befriending, as well as care and support, services.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who attended the event, said an ageing population requires a whole-of-society response.
To that end, he noted, the Action Plan for Successful Ageing – launched in 2015 to introduce senior-friendly measures such as Silver Zones for pedestrian safety – is due for renewal.
Mr Ong said an updated plan will be announced on Monday.
Correction note: An earlier version of this article stated that the new flexible services are available at NTUC Health’s nursing homes. NTUC Health has clarified they are also available at its senior day care centres.