Tuesday, 27 November 2012

First senior activity cluster centre opens in Taman Jurong

15 more centres with medical resources, social workers to be built across the nation
By Amanda Lee, TODAY, 26 Nov 2012

The first of 16 cluster centres islandwide to support nearby senior activity centres was officially opened yesterday in Taman Jurong.

Apart from engaging the elderly through social and recreational activities, each cluster support centre also has additional medical expertise and resources including four to five full-time social workers - supported by 10 to 20 home visit assistants - who will reach out to seniors in the vicinity, assess their financial and health needs, and develop customised care plans.

Each cluster centre supports up to five other senior activity centres. The seniors will be identified through various channels such as Residents' Committees, Community Clubs and door-to-door visits.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was at the opening, noted that about half of the 99 senior activity centres targeted to be built by 2016 have been completed.

Explaining the basic idea behind a network of senior activity centres supported by cluster centres, Mr Tharman said: "(It) is to bring the Community Development Councils and our hospitals close to where our elderly residents live and, in particular, close to where the vulnerable elderly live - those who are living in rental flats, lower income elderly generally, and those who live alone who often can get isolated.

"So we have to be close to them and interact frequently with them for their well-being, for their health and to just give them a sense of happiness."

The cluster centre in Taman Jurong - Silver Ace - will support three other senior activity centres in Teck Whye, Chua Chu Kang and Taman Jurong. Silver Ace is the first senior activity centre opened by NTUC Eldercare in the western part of the island.

Including Silver Ace, the co-operative is running six senior activity centres, with a seventh due to be opened soon in Bukit Merah.

Residents in the Taman Jurong vicinity, which has blocks of rental flats, welcomed the new centre. Mr Peck Chye, a 50-year-old businessman, said: "The elderly can get together and get to know one another ... (and) stay healthy together."

Yesterday, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) also announced that its U Care Fund has donated S$1 million to its Eldercare Trust. The donation will help subsidise fees for needy elderly who take part in programmes at NTUC Eldercare centres. "The money will also enable more day care and home care services to be made available," NTUC stated.

Mobile app for eldercare services
By Leslie Kay Lim, The Straits Times, 25 Nov 2012

A free mobile application to help people locate eldercare services was launched yesterday at the first ever Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) Health Carnival.

Called the Mobile Eldercare Locator (MEL), the GPS-enabled app allows users to search for clinics and service providers, based on location and type of services required.

There are more than 1,000 such organisations featured in the app, which was developed by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who was guest of honour at yesterday's carnival in Jurong West, encouraged the 700-strong crowd to download the new app and to sign up for CHAS.

"With more Singaporeans suffering from chronic diseases, there is a need to help people understand their own state of health better... and support them in managing any conditions," said Mr Gan.

The CHAS benefits people aged 40 and above who live in a household with a monthly income of no more than $1,500 per head. Some 220,000 people already receive subsidised care at private general practices and dental clinics under the scheme.

Separately, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) yesterday launched a new set of dietary guidelines for those aged 50 and above at an event in Bukit Batok Central.

Aside from dietary recommendations, the guidelines - available online at HPB's website - suggest that the elderly consume quality, nutrient-dense foods but in smaller quantities because they tend to be less active.

Softer foods, which are easier to swallow, calcium- fortified foods to combat loss of bone calcium, and fluids to counter constipation were also highlighted by the board as elderly friendly.

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