Notice

He added that the residents were notified of the plans only on Dec 22 last year when a notice signed by Mr Foo was placed at their doors.

According to the notice, a resident in one of the two blocks had requested that a centre be set up.

Said the notice: "The new centre... will be able to look after your elderly while you are at work.

"We will also be providing free counselling and advice on how to take good care of our elderly."

Renovation works for the centre are to start in April, and the process is expected to take about three months.

The residents' concerns have left Ms Lee in a bind.

She told TNP: "My conflict is how to balance the needs of these elderly who need this service - not only the elderly but also their caregivers - with those of residents who feel that their space has been violated.

"The residents have brought up their views, and it is fair to listen to them.

"But honestly, my heart is with the elderly and their caregivers.

She added: "The centre will provide a convenient place for elderly family members during the day, while their caregivers go to work. There will be activities - like physiotherapy and rehabilitation - for the old folk.

"Everybody ages, and the centre is for the good of the community."

Those aged 50 and above already make up 23 per cent of her constituency, she said.

Ms Lee has informed MOH of the petition and her residents' concerns.

TNP understands that no decision has been made on this as it is still in the consultative process.

The building of eldercare day centres in housing estates is part of MOH's plans to deal with the greying population.

An MOH spokesman told TNP that the centre is meant to provide aged care services to the community in Woodlands.

She said such centres are a key part of MOH's ageing-in-place strategies, as they allow the elderly to age in a familiar environment at home and not be institutionalised.

The centres in housing estates, in particular, are readily accessible, in that working caregivers can conveniently drop off their elderly at the centre during the day.

The centres can also provide other aged care services, like home care and health screening, to the rest of the community.

MOH plans to increase the number of seniors who can benefit from these centres. There are 54 such centres now, which can benefit 2,800 seniors.

MOH plans to increase this figure to 8,000 by 2020.

The spokesman said: "Singaporeans are rapidly ageing over the next two decades, and there is a need to build up aged-care services significantly to cope with the increased need and demand.

"As our population grows older, we need such aged care facilities to be developed islandwide and well-integrated into our heartlands."

The spokesman added that when planning the number and distribution of these centres, MOH considered the demographics of residents, the adequacy of existing provision of eldercare services in the surrounding areas, and the availability of space in each area.

She said: "Residents will be engaged continuously for their views to address their concerns more effectively.

"We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders and residents in a collective effort to bring about holistic, accessible and quality care for our elderly population."

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