New home monitoring system for elderly in Jurong Central alerts Red Cross in emergencies

The sensors of the HoME+ system will learn the movement patterns of the people living at home and alert the Singapore Red Cross should the pattern turn abnormal, like if there is no movement for more than two hours.
The sensors of the HoME+ system will learn the movement patterns of the people living at home and alert the Singapore Red Cross should the pattern turn abnormal, like if there is no movement for more than two hours.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - About 20 homes with elderly members in Jurong Central will receive a monitoring system that will send help to them in a medical emergency.

The Home Monitoring and Eldercare (HoME+) system is offered under a new tie-up among three partners: Jurong Central Grassroots Organisations (GROs), Singapore Red Cross and insurer Aviva Singapore.

Aviva has committed $135,000 to pay for the setting up of the system and services.

The money will allow for the system to be installed in 50 homes altogether, Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng said on Wednesday (July 4). He is also the adviser to the Jurong Central GROs.

Typically, the system would cost $48 a month but with the partnership, it is free during the lifetime of the elderly family member, who is someone aged 55 and older.

Mr Ang said such initiatives are a major focus for him and his grassroots leaders, as many of the residents in the area live in three-room, studio and rental flats.

"The proportion of Jurong GRC residents receiving Comcare assistance is way higher than the national average," he added.

The HoME+ system consists of two motion sensors, a door sensor and an alert button.

Once installed, the sensors will learn the movement patterns of the people living at home and alert the Singapore Red Cross should the pattern turn abnormal, like if there is no movement for more than two hours.

Another case would be if a household member goes to the toilet but fails to come out after an hour or two. Again, an alert will go out to the Singapore Red Cross, based in Penang Lane near Fort Canning, which will send a volunteer to the home.

In an emergency, a resident can also press the alert button to trigger an alarm at the Red Cross.

So far, 17 of the 20 families that signed up for HoME+ system have had it installed.

Mr Ang said it is particularly relevant in Jurong where a significant number of seniors live alone.

At Block 499 Jurong Central, which consists of studio apartments, about half of the residents are elderly folk who live alone, he added.

Jurong Central residents have also benefited from another initiative: the new Student Assistance Scheme for underprivileged families with children.

Donors have committed $55,000 for the next five years to support such families.

"We arrange tuition for them if they are underperforming in school and we give them extra pocket money of about $40 or $50 for school. Our volunteers also provide mentorship and help them check on other government schemes that can help them," said Mr Ang.

So far, the scheme is helping 43 students from about 20 families.