More seniors to benefit from functional screening

Senior residents attend a functional health screening session, on Sept 19, 2018 at Kampung Admiralty in Woodlands.
Senior residents attend a functional health screening session, on Sept 19, 2018 at Kampung Admiralty in Woodlands.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGPAORE - More seniors are set to benefit from functional screenings with the launch of a new partnership between the Ministry of Health (MOH), Temasek Foundation Cares and the business community.

Project Silver Screen, as it is called, was launched at Kampung Admiralty on Wednesday (Sept 19), and around 200 people from the vicinity took the opportunity to have their vision, hearing and oral health checked.

The programme, which is underpinned by a contribution of $35 million from Temasek Foundation Cares and 11 corporate donors, will scale up the number of these checks across Singapore.

It will also help subsidise the cost of the screening and the functional aids some seniors might need.

The programme is free for Pioneer Generation citizens, $2 for Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) card holders and $5 for others.

Project Silver Screen vouchers of between $15 and $200 will also be given to those who require aids such as spectacles, hearing aids and dentures. This is over and above existing government subsidies and regardless of household income.

 
 

Seniors getting a basic functional screening might then be referred to the relevant community or medical centres for further tests, such as for cataracts or glaucoma, if need be.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told the launch event that the programme will help seniors stay healthy longer.

"Beyond chronic conditions, we are also concerned about how to help them maintain the functional abilities so that they can remain active, remain engaged and have a healthy living and be as independent as possible," he said.

"Through the functional screenings we hope to be able to detect their conditions early and to prevent early deterioration. This way, we will be able to help our seniors stay healthy and stay well longer."

Around 23,000 seniors have attended the pilot programme for Project Silver Screen since January - almost a five-fold increase on 2017, according to the MOH.

The pilot phase found that many people were unaware that they had issues with their vision, hearing or oral health. About half of those attending the pilot screenings had vision issues, about 30 per cent had dental problems and 70 per cent had some form of hearing loss.

Madam Morais Mary Bernadette, 78, who went for the functional screening on Aug 18, found that her left eye was strained.

"I never knew I had vision issues. During the screening, I could not read the eye chart clearly," she said. Madam Bernadette received subsidies and paid $5 for a pair of glasses.

Mr Neo Kah Kiat, chief executive of Neo Group, one of the corporate donors, said: "It is important that we build a caring and cohesive society where no one is left behind, especially the silver generation that had given their best years to build the present Singapore."

The public can also donate to Project Silver Screen at https://www.temasekgives.sg.