One-stop portal to cater to seniors

One-stop portal to cater to seniors

Seniors will get the chance to test out a pilot one-stop portal that plans to provide the services they would like or need, to enable them to continue living at home as they age.

This follows similar schemes overseas, largely based on the one in Beacon Hill in the United States, which has proven successful over the past decade.

By calling a phone number, members can get a range of support services and goods - usually at discounted prices - be it groceries, plumbing, carpentry, computer repair, hair-styling or medical services.

Often referred to as a "virtual retirement village" - because people do not need to live near one another and connection is through the Internet or phone - they are becoming increasingly popular in countries with rapidly ageing populations.

At On Lok in California, which serves a largely Chinese clientele, the village provides regular health screening, medical, dental, food delivery and other services for around 15,000 members.

It also ferries those who need to go to day-care centres, where they are taken care of and brought home at the end of the day.

For its more active members, On Lok organises monthly excursions, exercise regimes and a range of craft and other classes.

There is usually an annual membership fee.

At Beacon Hill, the 375 members pay US$640 (S$790) a year for each single and US$925 a year for couples - but most, like On Lok, are non-profit organisations with volunteers to assist elderly members.

But commercial ones have also surfaced, like the one by local firm Ageing Asia, which will launch the virtual retirement village "Aspire55" on Nov 1.

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