Bedok's masterplan for seniors lauded

Bedok's masterplan for seniors lauded
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say (left) and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (centre) join elderly Bedok residents for yoga exercises.

To decide how best to help elderly Bedok residents to age well, grassroots organisations went to ask the seniors themselves.

Close to 3,000 of them were surveyed in 2012 to find out what their social, health and financial needs were. They were also invited to town hall meetings and helped to audit the town's elder-friendly features.

These findings became the basis for Bedok's Community For All Ages masterplan, which now has programmes tailored for six different groups: active agers, lonely or frail seniors, those in need of financial help, those with disabilities, those with health risks and elderly caregivers.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who was given an update yesterday on Bedok's progress so far, praised this "people-centric" approach.

"I think this is a very important approach and I'll be sharing some of it with the other CFAA projects," he said during his visit to the Bedok Sunflower Residents' Committee.

He was referring to the other three towns in the Government's City For All Ages initiative, or CFAA, which was introduced in 2011 to explore how to create a better living environment for the elderly.

The other towns are Marine Parade, Whampoa and Taman Jurong.

Madam Chew Siam Hiang, 65, who uses a wheelchair, helped with the town's "audit".

She gave volunteers some feedback about the low steps along a route to the nearby swimming complex.

"It feels like I'm hitting a wall," she said.

The steps have now been replaced with a ramp.

Mr Gan also praised Bedok grassroots groups' partnership with other players such as health-care and volunteer welfare organisations, including Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities which supports elderly caregivers and links them up with other agencies for help.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say, who is an adviser to the East Coast GRC grassroots organisations and who was hosting Mr Gan's visit, said that Bedok's programmes could be adopted by other wards in East Coast GRC.


This article was first published on September 8, 2014.
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