Modern 'kampung' in Woodlands opens

Civil servant Doris Yuen, 59, and her retiree husband Yip Keng Luen, 72, at the rooftop community garden in the 11-storey Kampung Admiralty. Other facilities in this HDB project include a medical centre and a sheltered plaza for community activities
Civil servant Doris Yuen, 59, and her retiree husband Yip Keng Luen, 72, at the rooftop community garden in the 11-storey Kampung Admiralty. Other facilities in this HDB project include a medical centre and a sheltered plaza for community activities like weekly fitness exercises.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Project integrates housing for seniors with healthcare, wellness and eldercare facilities

Singapore's first retirement kampung in Woodlands - bringing together public housing for seniors with healthcare, wellness and eldercare facilities - was officially opened yesterday.

The 11-storey Kampung Admiralty is the first Housing Board project to co-locate childcare and senior centres in one integrated development, aimed at encouraging inter-generational bonding.

At the launch, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "This is a small kampung... modest in scale but bold in ambition. We will make it succeed and when it's successful, we will build more kampungs like this in future HDB estates."

The pilot project was conceived more than four years ago, in recognition of Singapore's ageing population. "We wanted people to lead active and meaningful lives," said Mr Lee.

HDB has sought to develop new designs for an elderly population, and build flats, common areas and neighbourhoods that promote strong social support and community bonding, he added.

The facilities at Kampung Admiralty are meant to encourage seniors to step out of their homes and socialise with their neighbours and friends.

There is a medical centre on the third and fourth floor, a sheltered plaza for community activities like weekly fitness exercises, and a rooftop community farm with over 30 species of tropical plants such as longan and chiku trees.

The complex, completed late last year, includes two residential blocks of about 100 studio apartments that cater to those aged 55 and above. These are fitted with elder-friendly features such as grab bars, bigger switches and ramps at the unit entrance.

Mr Lee also noted that Kampung Admiralty "is designed to be integrated with the rest of the community". Built next to Admiralty MRT station, the complex is part of a $3 billion plan to help Singaporeans "age in place".

The Housing Board partnered Yishun Health, the National Environment Agency, National Parks Board, Land Transport Authority, Early Childhood Development Agency and Ministry of Health to plan and develop the complex.

Retiree Oh Kee Swee, 62, is among those already enjoying the new facilities.

He has lived in the area for more than 60 years, first in a kampung and now at a nearby block.

"I've tended to gardens in this area for over 20 years," he said. "I was the one who suggested having a rooftop garden. I want this to be a place where people can enter easily and interact with each other."

Civil servant Doris Yuen, 59, and her retiree husband Yip Keng Luen, 72, moved into the complex last year after deciding to downsize from their four-room flat.

Their three sons had moved out after marriage, and Ms Yuen was worried that her husband would hurt himself as he busied himself with cleaning their flat.

She is glad the new complex is in the same estate as their former home, where all her friends are.

"We're older now, and what we need is not a big house - what we need is a home," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 13, 2018, with the headline 'Modern 'kampung' in Woodlands opens'. Print Edition | Subscribe