Singapore

Better amenities, network of caregivers for seniors in East Coast GRC

Seniors in East Coast GRC can look forward to better amenities and a network of caregivers and volunteers under a plan to make the constituency a good place for ageing in.

The East Coast Silver Blueprint, launched yesterday, envisions a town in which all seniors, even if they live alone, will lead active lives with friends in the community and will be looked after by neighbours.

For a start, a survey will be conducted to better understand the needs of seniors.

Town audits will be carried out on physical improvements needed to make the area - which covers most of Bedok and Simei housing board estates - safer and more accessible for seniors.

Unveiling the blueprint yesterday on Facebook Live, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, an MP for East Coast GRC, urged residents to pitch in in their own ways.

He said this was the spirit behind the Singapore Together movement, which he and his team of fourth-generation political leaders started last year to give regular citizens a bigger say in policymaking.

He said: "Every one of us contributes something, whether within a family, within our neighbourhood or the broader community, and by bringing all of this together, organising this well with a good plan and some shared target, I think we can achieve a lot more."

In East Coast GRC, where four in 10 of the 190,000 residents are aged 50 and above, this will take the form of neighbours looking out for one another as they age.

The constituency will also set up a Caregiver Support Network so those caring for parents can lean on and learn from one another and get connected to resources, as well as healthcare and social services.

With dementia becoming a growing concern, there are also plans to make East Coast a dementia-friendly town, with dementia go-to points where lost and wandering people with dementia can be taken to.

At the national level, the National Research Foundation has added health and human potential as another area of focus, and will be doing research on how babies develop, how children and adults learn, as well as how seniors can keep their minds active and stave off dementia, said Mr Heng, who is chairman of the foundation.

COMMUNITY ISSUES