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Home care service for seniors to be rolled out in Singapore

The home care service offers free services to low-income seniors living in one- to two-room rental flats with little or no caregiver support.

Sara Grosse on 11 Jul 2015

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE: A home care service by the Agency for Integrated Care for needy seniors may soon be rolled out to eight locations in Singapore after some initial success from a three-year pilot.


The initiative, funded by Temasek Cares - Care Close to Home, kicked off in Ang Mo Kio and Kreta Ayer in October 2014, and has since seen its client base double.


The programme offers free services to low-income senior citizens living in one- to two-room rental flats with little or no caregiver support. The seniors will be supported by a care team comprising of a case manager, a social work assistant and a healthcare aide housed at a seniors' activity centre (SAC) that is in the vicinity of their clients' residence.


For instance, a healthcare aide visits Mdm Theresa Anthony at her home in Ang Mo Kio every week to prepare meals for her and remind her to take her medication. The 54-year old suffers from multiple health conditions, including Lupus, heart problems and arthritis. As her daughter works full time, Mdm Anthony has had to skip many of her hospital appointments due to her limited mobility. Since coming under the pilot home care service, Mdm Anthony says her life has changed for the better.


The Agency for Integrated Care said what makes this pilot unique is that the care services are located closer to the homes of senior residents, unlike other care models where the services are remotely based. This makes it easier for the home care team to provide immediate assistance when needed.


The Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA) provides the care support for two rental blocks in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 - Blocks 123 and 125. AWWA's services such as its rehabilitation centre and seniors' activity centre have been in the area for 40 years.


Initially, AWWA said the elderly were not keen to be part of its programme as they did not want to be perceived as not being independent. But after outreach efforts, better rapport was established with the elderly. AWWA's home care team currently serves 240 residents in Ang Mo Kio and plans to ramp this up to 370 by September.


"With the increase in volume of clients, we have ramped up our care team's strength. So moving forward, this will be our strategy,” said assistant director of Health and Senior Care of AWWA Sairam Azad. “We will be increasing the number of staff so that we can manage clients objectively and proportionately. In addition, we have been exploring newer ways of offering support and monitoring, such as recruiting volunteers."


AWWA is just one of two organisations involved in the pilot. The other organisation is Kim Seng Citizen Consultative Committee and Kreta Ayer SAC which supports two rental blocks in Kreta Ayer.


When the pilot was first rolled out in October, it had recruited 205 seniors from both Ang Mo Kio and Kreta Ayer. It has since seen this number more than double to 420. By 2016, the programme hopes to reach out to over 1,020 elderly.


Source: Channel News Asia © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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