Friday 12 September 2014

Singapore Silver Line: Helpline for seniors receives 9,700 calls in first two months

9.7k callers ring up Silver Line
By Joanna Seow, The Straits Times, 11 Sep 2014

A HELPLINE for senior citizens and caregivers has been used by almost 9,700 callers since it began operations in July.

The Singapore Silver Line, which provides information about eldercare services and grants that are available, was officially launched by Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor yesterday.

More than half the calls received have been about the Pioneer Generation Package, while a quarter were about other programmes under the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), such as the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) and Foreign Domestic Worker Grant.

In a speech at the Ministry of National Development Complex, Dr Khor said: "Raising capacity and building up manpower capabilities in the Intermediate and Long-Term Care sector are necessary to support the needs of an ageing population.

"Equally important is the need to ensure that it is convenient for our elderly and their caregivers to access our services."

Dr Khor added that the target is to help more than 100,000 callers in the first year.

Some 20 customer care officers man the helpline at 1800-650-6060, which operates from 8.30am to 8.30pm on weekdays, and from 8.30am to 4pm on Saturdays. The number of officers will be doubled by the end of the year.

Madam Magdalene Choo, 52, went through a week of training before starting work on the line in July. She answers 25 to 30 calls a day, giving people advice about what schemes they can apply for, the forms they must fill out and which documents to attach.

"The older folks are grateful when they are able to get help from the schemes," she said. "I'm very happy that I'm able to make their day."

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