South East CDC plans to reach out to more seniors

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.

South East Community Development Council (CDC) Mayor Maliki Osman, speaking at an appreciation lunch for volunteers, said the Neighbours for Active Living programme, set up by South East CDC and Eastern Health Alliance, 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 trained professionals from the nursing, social work and healthcare industry, will then coordinate health and social care for the seniors.

The team will also match befrienders with seniors to help them stay connected in the community, said Dr Maliki, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs. He said the number of seniors living alone in Singapore is expected to increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 by 2030.

He added that reaching out to vulnerable seniors, including those who are isolated or at risk of poor health, can help improve their lives and prevent deteriorating mental and physical health.

The Neighbourhood for Active Living scheme, launched in 2013, now has over 600 volunteers, who have linked up with more than 3,000 seniors in the South East district. The district covers East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC, and the single-member wards 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. All 12 divisions will be covered by the end of next year, he added.

Rachel Au-Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 11, 2018, with the headline 'South East CDC plans to reach out to more seniors'. Subscribe