SINGAPORE : Singapore’s Minister-in-Charge of Ageing Issues, Lim Boon Heng has outlined some of his plans for this year.
It includes rolling out wellness programmes to all constituencies and working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) more closely on more clinical and medical aspects care for the aged.
He was speaking on Wednesday at an NTUC Eldercare centre in Marsiling, which joined hands with the Foundation of Rotary Clubs to provide quality and affordable community-based eldercare services to more seniors in the Woodlands community.
The day care centre at Woodlands received a donation of $120,000 from the Foundation of Rotary Clubs. It has also been re-named NTUC Rotary Silver Circle (Marsiling).
“Through our network of Rotarians, we can do a schedule – (for instance) every month we come here – and also, some activities which we can organise to make a difference to the lives of these elderly people. Loneliness is one issue and we can help in that area,” said David Tong How Heng, chairman of the Foundation of Rotary Clubs.
NTUC Eldercare has the experience in managing ageing matters. As for Foundation of Rotary Clubs, it will share the professional services that it has, including geriatric services at the Marsiling Centre in Woodlands.
Mr Lim said: “In this way, they don’t have to re-invent the wheel; they don’t have to learn the lessons that NTUC Eldercare has done over the last 12 years. They can see how it operates and contribute to it with their ideas and volunteers and the professional expertise.
“We would like to see the day care services expand to the various needs of seniors… It’s good that the Rotary Foundation has got a geriatrician as a volunteer and this will benefit the seniors at the centre.”
Mr Lim said he wants NTUC Eldercare’s seven centres to look at keeping costs down.
He said: “If you look at this centre in Marsiling, it has a capacity of 45 to 50 clients. It is sub-optimal, actually a little bit too small; we learnt it the hard way. So for the future centres, we are looking at being able to cater to 70 seniors.
“This will bring the costs down as you have to employ a centre supervisor and you have to get all your supporting help… because you also need the therapists and the nursing help. So you need a number of centres and then sensibly deploy these professional staff on a sharing basis across several centres.”
It will be a busy year ahead for the minister in charge of ageing issues. “We should as far as possible enable people to age in place, and the kinds of services we need for individuals to live where they are and support their family members who are caregivers. It is important we build up the capabilities as quickly as we can,” said Mr Lim.
In 20 years’ time, Singapore will see a three-fold increase of those aged 65 and above to about 900,000