Widow, 88, safer at home, thanks to Project Fresh

Widow, 88, safer at home, thanks to Project Fresh
Volunteers from Standard Chartered Bank helping to paint the doors of a flat.

SINGAPORE - Madam Ho Lian Heng felt safer in her own home after the Housing Board installed grab bars and slip-resistant tiles in her bathroom last Friday.

The 88-year-old widow, who needs a walking stick to get around, has fallen four times in the 14 years she has lived alone. "Now, I don't have to worry so much any more," she said.

Madam Ho's needs were brought to HDB's attention through Project Fresh, an initiative by the Tanglin Cairnhill Constituency to tap existing help schemes for needy households in the constituency.

The project identifies households that can benefit from programmes such as Enhancement for Active Seniors by HDB, and Switch and Project We Care - Stop Bed Bugs by Central Singapore Community Development Council.

Through Project Fresh - so named because it aims to fix, refurbish, and enhance seniors' homes - representatives from these organisations will install elderly-friendly features and energy saving light bulbs in homes, as well as call on volunteers to paint and clean homes to rid them of bedbugs.

At yesterday's launch, about 130 volunteers from Standard Chartered Bank cleaned and repainted furniture and doors of homes in Block 117, Bukit Merah View, where Madam Ho lives.

Project Fresh aims to help 1,900 households in six rental blocks, three in Bukit Merah View and three in Henderson, where most of the residents are elderly.

Officiating the launch, Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah said its comprehensive approach addresses the different needs of various households, such as level floors and new coats of paint, and help to declutter living spaces.

"For the elderly, many of them are very independent and very appreciative. It's just that they have grown older and are not able to do some of these tasks themselves," said Ms Indranee, who is also an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC. The project brings a community together too.

"It's really about everybody pitching in together to make things better for the residents."

The next phase of Project Fresh, involving Blocks 91, 92 and 93 in Henderson Road, will start in September.

This article was first published on JUNE 24, 2014.
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