SINGAPORE - A show-flat for Singapore's first assisted-living public housing is now open at HDB Hub, a week ahead of schedule.
Located in Bukit Batok West Avenue 9, the Community Care Apartments are targeted at those aged 65 and above who wish to live on their own and yet enjoy some care, support and communal activities.
On Tuesday (Dec 29), seniors who visited the show-flat told The Straits Times that they were attracted to the new concept, which allows them to forge close relationships with other people in their age group.
Part-time waiter Tan Soon Huat, 67, who made a trip specifically to visit the show-flat, said the 32 sq m unit is the perfect size for him and his wife.
"The size is just nice, not too big and not too small. We're old already, anytime anything can happen, so it's good to have neighbours helping out and looking out for each other in this community," he said, adding that his daughter is married and had moved out of their four-room HDB flat.
Each unit comes with senior-friendly fittings - including grab bars and a wheelchair-accessible bathroom with slip-resistant flooring - to let residents move around in their homes with ease.
Flats have an open layout and come with a built-in wardrobe, cabinets and a furnished kitchen to reduce renovation time.
There will be a furnished communal space on each floor for residents to mingle, and a community manager on site to facilitate activities.
Retired mechanic Roland Ho, 77, who visited the show-flat, said he is considering applying for a flat with his 74-year-old wife when the project launches.
Mr Ho, who currently lives in a four-room HDB flat, said: "It's a nice concept and the unit looks comfortable. Last time, the Government never built this type of flats right? Maybe we can be the first to move in."
The pilot batch of Community Care Apartments will be launched for sale in a Build-To-Order exercise next February. There will be about 160 units, which are expected to be completed in 2024.
The new flat type comes with a mandatory service package which includes 24-hour emergency monitoring and response service, basic health checks, simple home fixes and activities at the communal spaces within the development.
All residents will have to subscribe and pay for the basic service package, which starts at $22,000 for a 15-year lease.
Optional services such as housekeeping, laundry, meal delivery and shared caregiving can be added at extra cost.
The new public housing concept is piloted by the Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Health and the Housing Board to support seniors to age independently in the community with care options.
Seniors must be 65 and above to apply for these flats. They can choose a lease ranging from 15 years to 35 years, in five-year increments, as long as it covers the applicant and his spouse, if any, until they are at least 95 years old.
Prices for these flats start from $40,000 for a 15-year lease to $65,000 for a 35-year lease, and must be fully paid upfront with cash or with Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.
Government subsidies such as the Silver Housing Bonus, which gives seniors up to $30,000 cash bonus when they sell their existing flat and top up their proceeds to their CPF Retirement Account, and the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG), are applicable to eligible applicants.
However, these flats cannot be resold or rented out. Owners who no longer need the flat can return it to the HDB, which will refund them the value of the remaining lease of the flat.
On Monday, National Development Minister Desmond Lee highlighted the show-flat in a Facebook post and said that it will "enable visitors to get a better sense of the living space and layout of the unit".
Besides the show-flat, members of the public can also view a sample of the communal space, along with scaled models of the block and flat, at the HDB Hub atrium in Lorong 6 Toa Payoh until March 31.
Visitors must book an appointment via HDB InfoWeb before visiting.
Senior partner relationship and operations manager Densy Kum, 55, said she is looking forward to more of such flats for seniors in other parts of Singapore and will apply for one in the future, when she turns 65.
"It's good to stay in an old folks community where there are people who will look out for each other. If I'm sick or need help when I'm old and alone, there will be people to take care of me and I will also have peers of the same age group to mingle with," she said.