On the cards: More annual leave to care for the elderly

Singaporeans with elderly parents to take care of may be given more days of annual leave to do so, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.

This potential measure is one of several being discussed by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing, which was set up to coordinate government efforts to prepare for an ageing population.

The committee is currently looking into how the Government can give caregivers "some respite in terms of the services we can provide to them...with more leave so they have more time to look after the elderly and the frail at home", he said.

Mr Gan was responding to a question from an MP for Marine Parade GRC, Ms Tin Pei Ling, who stressed the importance of "family support" in caring for the elderly.

She asked if the Government would consider mandating annual leave for that specific purpose.

In response to a question from an MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Mr Christopher De Souza, Mr Gan said that a dedicated sub-committee is looking into the manpower requirements for dealing with the ageing population.

More geriatricians, nurses and allied-health professionals will have to be recruited, and the capacity of nursing homes will have to be expanded, he added.

The ministerial committee's masterplan, which "will detail initiatives to facilitate ageing- in-place", will be released next year, Mr Gan said.

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