NG SIQI KELLY
email@example.comPUBLISHED: 4:00 AM, FEBRUARY 27, 2017
SINGAPORE — A first-of-its-kind centre promises to help transform how seniors can be cared for within a residential community.
Elderly residents in Whampoa, who form about a fifth of the estate’s population, can now access a raft of healthcare, social care and community services at the pilot Community of Successful Ageing centre, which opened its doors this month.
The centre, a partnership between the Health Ministry, Tsao Foundation and Whampoa’s grassroots organisations, features a clinic, day care centre and services that help the elderly and their caregivers manage chronic health conditions and emotional needs.
Speaking yesterday at the official re-opening of Whampoa Community Club (CC), where the centre is located, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong cited the neighbourhood as an example of how an ageing population can be supported by a “community of care”.
The Community for Successful Ageing centre marks an expansion of the Tsao Foundation’s programmes in Whampoa, which it began in 2012 from a makeshift clinic at one of the Residents’ Committee centres.
Tsao Foundation chief executive Peh Kim Choo said the new premises will allow it to organise community programmes, such as art classes and volunteering initiatives, that give the elderly more opportunities to interact with residents of different age groups.
For instance, it hopes to set up intergenerational programmes with the childcare centre in the CC.
Noting the constraints on Singapore’s healthcare workforce in meeting the demands of an ageing population, Mr Gan said the National Healthcare Group will work with the Tsao Foundation to jointly care for frail elderly patients.
“More Whampoa residents can transit better from hospitals back home, and be supported to recuperate and stay well in the community. Seniors can visit the primary care clinic for their healthcare needs whilst receiving referrals from case managers for psychosocial support or other services around Whampoa,” he said.
“Those who are frailer can also come to the day care centre or have care staff from the centre visit their homes to care for them.”
About one in five residents are at least 60 years old, while a quarter are above the age of 50, and a resident’s feedback on the need for an elder-care facility sparked the idea for the centre.
Whampoa grassroots adviser Heng Chee How said: “People have lived here for decades really, and we see that, physically, they may not be as strong as before; medically, they need further advice; socially, they’re also looking at different ways to stay connected with friends.
“With the opportunity to do up the Community Club again, we began to think about what would be useful for the residents.”
Mdm June Lee, who was referred to the Tsao Foundation after seeking treatment for hot water burns at Toa Payoh Polyclinic and Hua Mei Clinic, now drops by the centre in Whampoa CC on weekdays for singing, drawing and other arts and crafts sessions.
The wheelchair user said this has helped reduce the stress on her husband, who used to care for her while having to work.
Whampoa, one of the first four sites in the City for All Ages movement launched in 2012 to seek urban solutions for the elderly, had also undergone infrastructural improvements earlier to help seniors to move around.
The other three neighbourhoods are Bedok, Marine Parade and Taman Jurong.