Pro-elderly initiatives bearing fruit

Pro-elderly initiatives bearing fruit
Madam Junaidah (second from right) no longer needs to take her father (seated) all the way to the polyclinic. Seen here with the Whampoa residents are (from left) Senior Minister of State Heng Chee How, Dr Khor and Mary Ann Tsao (in black), chairman of Tsao Foundation.

Junaidah Salleh, 48, who suffers from joint aches, used to take her 97-year-old father, who uses a wheelchair, to the Toa Payoh Polyclinic, a trip that required them to board two buses each way.

But now, there is a small satellite clinic run by the Tsao Foundation at a nearby block. Open twice a week, the clinic is part of Whampoa's City For All Ages (CFAA) initiative.

The CFAA aims to make Singapore an elderly-friendly country, with estates provided with $50,000 to kick-start their efforts.

Launched in four estates in 2011, and since expanded to 12 more, it looks at what residents in various estates need to make it easier for them to get out and about in the community.

Whampoa enlisted the help of the Tsao Foundation to start the clinic for patients with complex medical problems. It currently has 20 patients, and will be extending its services to 200 in the coming months.

The clinic has tied up with Toa Payoh Polyclinic, which supplies the medication needed by the patients at the usual subsidised rates. Prescriptions are faxed to the polyclinic, which packs them for collection the following day for distribution to the patients.

Patients can use their Pioneer Generation or Community Health Assist Scheme cards for government subsidies.

Madam Junaidah said having the nearby clinic takes a weight off her mind; it is extremely difficult for her to get her father, who suffers from diabetes and hypertension, to the polyclinic in his wheelchair as she cannot afford to take a taxi.

Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower lauched a CFAA guidebook at Whampoa yesterday to share success stories from the 16 estates and suggestions on how to implement similar schemes in others.

Because of each estate's different needs, the community first needs to find out what seniors want. But there are some common needs that can be turned into national schemes, she said, such as anti-slip floors and grab bars in Housing Board flats. This was pioneered by Marine Parade and now provided by HDB to all flats with seniors living in them.

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