Govt's blueprint includes plan for 10 new nursing homes, 39 new Senior Care Centres

After several instances in recent months where ad-hoc plans to build eldercare facilities were met with resistance from some residents, the Government yesterday took a new approach: It announced a nationwide blueprint to build 105 eldercare facilities - nursing homes, Senior Activity Centres and Senior Care Centres - in 24 towns and estates over the next four years. 

The blueprint was announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). 

Most of the sites have been confirmed but the detailed locations were not specified in the announcement. In the months ahead, the authorities will be seeking feedback from the residents living near the proposed sites. 

Among the facilities on the cards are 10 new nursing homes - which will add an estimated 3,300 beds to the existing 9,000 - in areas including Ang Mo Kio, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong West, Radin Mas and Yishun.

There will also be 39 new Senior Care Centres - the sites for 21 of these centres have been confirmed and they will be located in places such as Bedok, Bukit Batok, Bukit Merah, Geylang and Hougang. Formerly known as Integrated Day Facilities, these centres will provide day care, dementia day care, day rehabilitation services and basic nursing services. Over time, these centres will also offer personal care services at the homes of the seniors, including personal hygiene, laundry and meal services. 

Also in the pipeline are 56 new Senior Activity Centres, of which the locations of 45 centres have been confirmed in places such as Novena, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun. 

Under the plan, some places - such as Yishun, Jurong West and Geylang - will have all three types of facilities built. 

Speaking on the sidelines of a visit to the Man Fut Tong Nursing Home, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said: "Many of these facilities have to be built near the community and I hope that the residents living near these facilities will understand ... and will support our plans over the next few months." 

On why the Government chose to announce the building plans on a nationwide scale, Mr Gan said the move was "important" so that the Members of Parliament (MPs) and grassroots leaders can start to engage residents. 

Where possible, residents' input will be taken on board to improve the design of the facilities, Mr Gan said.

Speaking to TODAY, Choa Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad added: "It is good to put some of these plans upfront to give the indication that ... it's not just this area that will have a nursing home but they are spread across Singapore. In a sense, every community should support such facilities and there are benefits and objectives that we also want to help the community with."

Most residents TODAY spoke to said they would support the plans. Still, Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah said she expects there will be resistance from some residents. 

"If the reasons are valid, of course, we need to look into it ... but if the objections are not valid then we will still have to listen to the majority," she said.

Ashley Chia
Source: TodayOnline