South East CDC befriending programme to reach out to 1,000 more vulnerable seniors

SINGAPORE - A neighbourhood befriending programme to keep an eye on the elderly aims to reach out to about 1,000 more vulnerable seniors by next year.

This was announced on Saturday (March 10) by South East Community Development Council (CDC) mayor Maliki Osman at an appreciation lunch for volunteers.

Dr Maliki said the CDC's Neighbours for Active Living programme will strengthen its referral system, by working with the Community Network for Seniors and Pioneer Generation Office to identify vulnerable seniors.

The programme's Community Care Team, made up of nursing, social-work or healthcare industry-trained professionals, will then coordinate health and social care for the seniors. The team will also match befrienders with seniors to help them age well and stay connected in the community, said Dr Maliki.

At the event, he noted that the number of seniors living alone in Singapore is expected to increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 by 2030. He told volunteers that reaching out to vulnerable seniors, including those who are isolated or at risk of poor health, can help to improve their lives and prevent deteriorating mental and physical health.

The Neighbourhood for Active Living programme was launched in 2013, and currently has over 600 volunteers who have reached out to over 3,000 seniors in the South East district. The district covers East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC as well as the single constituencies of Fengshan, MacPherson and Mountbatten.

Dr Maliki said the expansion programme will begin by matching trained volunteers to isolated seniors in Braddell Heights by June this year.

All 12 divisions will be covered by the end of next year, he added.