SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP), long associated with kindergartens across the country, is now setting its sights on a network of senior-care centres throughout the island.
Its charitable arm, the PAP Community Foundation (PCF), will launch its first senior-care centre next year, the first of 10 to 15 such centres it hopes to open in the next five years, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told a PCF Family Day celebration yesterday.
The centres will provide seniors with health and social care services, and help support family caregivers, who are working to ease the strains of an ageing population, Mr Lee said.
The announcement comes as the Government pays closer attention to the needs of the elderly. The number of residents aged 65 and above is expected to triple to 900,000 by 2030.
And just as the PAP set up kindergartens in the 1960s to offer good, affordable education, its new senior-care centres are a response to the need for affordable daycare and rehabilitation services for the elderly.
Mr Lee noted that PCF had been expanding its scope to meet Singapore's evolving needs, such as by offering student-care services to help working parents, and now its move into eldercare.
"This is how we can help to build a fair and just society. A society where everyone can have the fullest opportunities to succeed, where each one of us plays a part in serving the community, where we all move ahead together, and build a brighter tomorrow together," Mr Lee said.
He was speaking at Universal Studios Singapore on Sentosa, where 10,000 children, parents and senior citizens toured yesterday. The Family Day is part of the PAP's 60th anniversary celebrations, themed "Forward Together, A Brighter Tomorrow".
"The PAP started kindergartens in the 1960s because we believed that in 'a fair and just' society, every child must be given a good education," Mr Lee said.
"What started out as a few kindergartens is now the PCF, a full-fledged social service organisation that runs 350 pre-school centres with over 43,000 kids."
Mr Lee added that PCF would continue upgrading its pre-school centres to give children the best possible start in life.
PCF executive committee chairman, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong, told reporters the new senior-care centres would be an important way for PCF to stay relevant in providing charitable and social services. The first centre is set to open in the middle of next year, and Mr Wong hopes a second one can also be ready then. He said the location has not been fixed, but PCF was looking at the Yew Tee area.
PCF will also work with members of the PAP Seniors Group (PAP.SG) to have volunteers support these centres, he added.
PAP.SG was formed in December to better cater to the elderly. It is helmed by Parliament Speaker Halimah Yacob, with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as adviser.
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