In Focus
HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore on track to expand home and day care spaces for elders

It aims to add 10,000 local home care and 6,200 day care spaces by 2020.

More than 3,000 home and day care spaces should be up and running in the next two years if the government continues making progress towards its goal of expanding the care facilities for elderlies in Singapore.

In 2017, minister of State for Health Dr. Lam Pin Min announced their goal to expand the number of local home care spaces to 10,000 and day care places to 6,200 by 2020 as part of the agency’s efforts to support caregivers in looking after the senior citizens. This was reiterated by senior minister of State for Health Dr. Amy Khor during her speech at the Caregiver Symposium last month.

“Caregiving will grow in tandem with our ageing population. One in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above by 2030, compared to about one in seven last year. With our ageing population and many seniors aspiring to live and age at home, more Singaporeans will take on the role of caregivers. We are committed to providing more support for our caregivers,” said Dr. Khor.

From April 2017 to February 2018, the number of home care spaces in the country has increased from around 7,500 to 8,000 whilst day care capacity was expanded from 4,000 to 5,000.

As the government tries to keep up with the pace of thousand Singaporeans hurtling toward the silver age, some private institutions are keeping their selves on the race by providing larger capacities for senior citizens who might need extra care outside home.

For instance, NTUC Health last November opened its second nursing home in Chai Chee that can accommodate 300 residents. This brings the firm’s total bed capacity to 1,000, including those in their nursing homes in Jurong West and Geylang East.

Meanwhile, Orange Valley in January opened its sixth nursing home in Balestier to meet the increasing demand for care facilities.

“There is a pressing shortage, with an average wait of several months to be placed in a home. With the latest addition, [we aim] to shorten the waiting time and cope with the increased demand for beds,” said Orange Valley.

The newly-opened six-storey nursing home, called OVCare Centre, has 116 beds with two beds for quarantine and isolation purposes. This facility brings Orange Valley’s number of beds to more than 1,000 including those in their nursing homes in Changi, Clementi, Marsiling, Simei, and Sims Avenue.

For 2018, healthcare spending is expected to reach an estimated amount of $10.2b that will be allotted for increasing healthcare subsidies, investing in new medical technologies, and building new care facilities.

“The ramp-up in healthcare spending is timely and almost a necessity given our rapidly ageing population and the need for more healthcare subsidies. The investment in building more step-down care facilities to cater for the elderly in the community is a welcome step by the government,” said Karen Lee, audit partner at KPMG Singapore.  

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