Monday 26 March 2012

Marine Parade to test new elder-friendly projects

Improved one-stop health screening, plus active role by CC
By Goh Chin Lian, The Sunday Times, 25 Mar 2012

Marine Parade is focusing on two new areas to help its elderly residents, just as a pilot scheme to prevent falls is paving the way for a nationwide programme, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday.

An improved one-stop health screening programme is due to start this month, with general practitioners and dentists in the community on hand for follow-up.

It will go beyond detecting chronic diseases, to include screening elderly people for a decline in bodily functions. Ageing usually leads to poorer vision, hearing, leg strength and balance.

The programme will be rolled out to the rest of Singapore in the next three years.

'Whatever you need can be done there. There will be follow-up directions, where to go, who to see,' Mr Goh told reporters after touring exhibits on preventing falls and other elderly issues in Marine Terrace.

He is the lead Member of Parliament of Marine Parade GRC.

The Marine Parade Community Club (CC) will also take an active part in promoting health care among elderly residents. For a start, it will display the exhibits he saw yesterday, Mr Goh said.

Marine Parade, where one in four residents is more than 65 years old, is the test-bed for elder-friendly programmes.

Earlier, Mr Goh visited two elderly widows living alone in their rental flats at Block 51, Marine Terrace.

They are among about 500 Marine Parade residents aged above 70 who have been selected for the pilot scheme funded by the Tote Board.

Taking off from this scheme, the HDB will roll out a $260 million programme in selected towns islandwide. About 130,000 households with elderly and infirm people will get the fittings.

Mr Goh said lessons learnt in Marine Parade will be replicated all over Singapore, such as varying the level of the grab bars according to the height of each individual.

His constituency is also building up its team of volunteers to visit the elderly, and forming a network of doctors in and outside the constituency that every household with an elderly person can tap.

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