PCF to open more senior care centres by 2019

Seniors preparing food at a cooking session at PAP Community Foundation’s Sparkle Care @ Changi Simei centre.

SINGAPORE - The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) plans to open three more Sparkle Care senior care centres within the next two years, increasing its maximum daily daycare capacity to around 300 places.

This underscores PCF's swift expansion beyond its core Sparkletots preschool interests, and into the eldercare sector.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who also chairs the PCF's Council of Management, made the announcement at the official opening of the second Sparkle Care centre in Yew Tee on Saturday morning (Nov 25).

"Over a period of time, we hope that PCF - just as it is synonymous for preschools now - will also be known as a provider of quality senior care services," he said.

While Yew Tee is a relatively young town, Singapore's population is also ageing rapidly, added Marsiling-Yew Tee MP Alex Yam.

"It is important for us to put in services before the peak comes," Mr Yam said.

Mr Lim Yong Aik, 79, has been going to the Yew Tee daycare centre from Monday to Friday with his wife, who has dementia.

"We used to go to another daycare centre, in Admiralty, but it took us an hour to get there," said Mr Lim, who lives in Choa Chu Kang.

"Here, they pick us up from our home so it only takes around 15 minutes to get to the Yew Tee Centre."

The first Sparkle Care centre started operations in Simei in 2015, while the one in Yew Tee did so earlier this year.

Part of the programme involves inter-generational bonding opportunities, where preschoolers from nearby Sparkletots centres visit Sparkle Care's seniors.

Together, both centres offer a total of around 120 daily daycare places.

They currently care for about 225 seniors, not all of whom attend every day.

Many have health conditions ranging from dementia to Parkinson's disease, and may have trouble caring for themselves at home. To help family members cope, PCF also organises caregiver support and training programmes.

Mr Tan Song Mong, who is director of PCF's senior care division, said that the foundation learnt many things from running its very first centre. These lessons were incorporated in the running of its newest centre, he said.

"For example, patients with advanced dementia need quietness sometimes," he said. "So, we have more private spaces for them."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.