Monday 4 April 2016

PCF's first senior care centre has more than 70 clients, second centre to be ready by end 2016

By Seow Bei Yi, The Sunday Times, 3 Apr 2016

Three times a week, 83-year-old Madam Yeo Swee Peng, chats with friends, plays mahjong or takes part in other activities at the PAP Community Foundation's (PCF's) first senior care centre in Simei.

She started visiting the Sparkle Care @ Changi Simei centre, which costs her $15 a day after subsidies, last September, after over a year of waiting for a place in Bedok.

The centre officially launched yesterday, and a second senior care centre is due to open in the Yew Tee area by the end of the year.

Madam Yeo's daughter, Ms Dawn Tam, 53, who works for an enrichment education provider, said people her mother's age do not have many activities open to them.

"They get really bored and if (my mother) doesn't do anything much, we are fearful that her dementia condition will deteriorate."

Designed to support elderly people with multiple care needs and provide relief to caregivers, the centre in Simei is licensed to offer dementia and maintenance care, rehabilitation care and nursing care.

It helps more than 70 people. Most of the seniors, like Madam Yeo, are in their 70s and 80s, the oldest being 97 years old.

"People with dementia may be difficult to manage," said Ms Tam. "It gives us comfort to know that there are specially trained people to attend to my mother."

The centre has a maximum capacity of 55 daycare and 65 rehabilitation clients.

Seniors aged 60 and above who have a need for the services and have obtained the relevant referrals may be eligible.

They may also claim up to 80 per cent of fee subvention from the Ministry of Health, subject to household means-testing.

The opening marks the PCF's new role in providing care services to seniors in addition to its work in early childhood education.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who is also chairman of the PCF Council of Management, said: "Now, with a rapidly ageing population, we are seeing a greater need on the ground for senior care services."

Since the PCF had little experience in the area, he explained, it started by partnering with the Alzheimer's Disease Association and St Andrew's Community Hospital.

Also present at the official opening yesterday were East Coast GRC MP Jessica Tan and PCF executive committee chairman Josephine Teo. Mrs Teo, a Senior Minister of State, whose duties include overseeing population matters, said: "We see this as part of our social responsibility to support families, to enable seniors to age with dignity and promote communities where people care for one another."

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