Yio Chu Kang aims to be first dementia-friendly constituency

Madam Chua Imm shows the personal alert button installed in her living room to DPM Lawrence Wong on Oct 30, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE – Yio Chu Kang is set to be the first dementia-friendly constituency, with infrastructure and services catered for residents aged 65 and above, who now form about 40 per cent of the housing estate’s population.

On Sunday, during a ministerial community visit by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, Yio Chu Kang MP Yip Hon Weng said the housing estate will be entirely dementia-friendly by 2025.

Mr Yip noted that Yio Chu Kang is a senior estate, both in terms of its infrastructure and residents.

He said: “We need to make sure that the infrastructure, as well as the services here, are catered to them.”

Among the initiatives announced on Sunday is a personal alert button pilot currently being rolled out to 80 elderly residents at blocks 626 and 641 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.

It allows them to call for help by alerting staff at the nearby Thye Hua Kwan Senior Activity Centre or CareLine, which is a telephone service by Changi General Hospital that provides health and social support to seniors. One resident who has had the button installed for free by CareLine and the Government Technology Agency in the living room and toilet of her two-room rental flat is 84-year-old Chua Imm, who lives alone.

The retired domestic helper said she is happy to have an alert button and feels less worried about something happening to her while she is on her own.

On Sunday, residents also painted the finishing touches on colourful murals at the void deck of Block 612 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.

The murals are part of a trail to help residents stay active by clocking 10,000 steps a day. They also aim to help people with dementia find their way around the estate.

Residents painting murals at the void deck of Block 612 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 on Oct 30, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Social service agency Awwa also announced that it will launch an assisted living facility at Block 609 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 that will be ready in April 2023.

The facility will include a teleconsultation room built in collaboration with Tan Tock Seng Hospital and an activity room fitted with a fall detection system that will be monitored by staff and trained volunteers.

It will also collaborate with other agencies to provide meals for low-income residents, basic nursing support, care coordination, home safety advice and home monitoring services for seniors living alone.

Mr Yip said the various projects aim to provide services that can help the elderly age in the community instead of going to a nursing home.

He added: “We want to showcase some of the care elements of Forward SG and how we can get the different entities, the different agencies, the different residents and volunteers to come together (and) create and shape a society that we can be proud of here in Yio Chu Kang.”

Forward Singapore, launched in June, is a government exercise calling on Singaporeans to offer ideas to shape and strengthen the nation’s social compact.

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