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Ageing Asia highlights Singaporean model in elderly care services in latest whitepaper


Singapore has unveiled a comprehensive strategy to address the growing needs of its ageing population. With the goal of doubling the number of eldercare centers by 2025, the city-state is set to bolster its support for the elderly through increased funding and innovative initiatives.


Aging Asia’s latest whitepaper, “Assessing the different ageing policies in the Asia Pacific region” has highlighted the Singaporean model as follows. For the full content of the whitepaper, please visit the website.


The government initiative, led by the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, aims to respond to the challenges posed by the rapidly ageing population. As families, hospitals, communities, and nursing homes are increasingly responsible for the care of the elderly, the community care sector is undergoing significant reinforcement.


According to reports from The Straits Times, Singapore's plan includes a substantial increase in nursing home beds. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of beds grew by 70%, reaching 16,200 beds. Over the next decade, this capacity is set to surge by nearly 100%, totaling more than 31,000 beds.


In a bid to expand the scale and scope of eldercare services, Singapore plans to increase the number of eldercare centers from 119 to 220 by 2025. Each center will cater to a population of 1,000 to 4,000 seniors, ensuring comprehensive care for a larger segment of the elderly population.


Addressing the critical issue of manpower, the government has allocated $290 million to elevate the salaries of community care workers from 2020 to 2023. Additionally, the AIC's learning institutes have significantly expanded their training programs, offering more than 18,000 training places annually to equip the workforce with the necessary skills and expertise.


Furthermore, the Community Care Digital Transformation Plan (CCDTP) is set to receive funding of $18 million. Community care organizations can apply for financial support, covering up to 85% of the digitalization implementation costs, thus promoting the integration of advanced technology in eldercare services.


Amid these developments, the introduction of Community Care Apartments (CCAs) marks a significant stride in providing elderly-friendly housing with integrated care options, allowing independent ageing within a supportive community environment. The initiative, a joint effort by the Ministry of National Development (MND), Housing & Development Board (HDB), and the Ministry of Health (MOH), has already launched two CCAs, Harmony Village @ Bukit Batok and Queensway Canopy, in February 2021 and November 2022 respectively. The third site, located in Bedok, is set to be operational in 2023, with plans for more CCAs across various locations in the country.


Key considerations for the CCAs include a wide range of facilities and amenities designed to promote healthy living and active ageing, minimal renovation requirements due to senior-friendly design features, and integrated care services that include 24-hour emergency monitoring and response, basic health checks, and the support of an on-site community manager.


To ensure affordability, applicants and their spouses, if any, must be 65 years old and above, with lease options ranging from 15 to 35 years, covering them until the age of 95. Successful applicants are required to make a full upfront payment for the flat by cash and/or CPF, with the option of choosing either full or partial upfront payment for the mandatory Basic Service package. Importantly, the flats cannot be rented out or resold, and owners returning the CCA to HDB will receive a refund corresponding to the remaining lease value.


Singapore's proactive approach to elderly care reflects its commitment to providing comprehensive support for its ageing population, ensuring a higher quality of life and well-being for its elderly citizens. With these initiatives, the nation is poised to set new standards in eldercare services and facilities, serving as a model for other countries facing similar demographic challenges.


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