Make it easier to care for Singapore's aged

I WAS saddened to read that some Singaporeans are sending their elderly parents to nursing homes in Johor Baru ("Is Grandma destined for export to JB?"; April 9).

We need to understand the driving force behind this and re-look the benefits of having the elderly remain at home or be placed in local nursing homes.

Having the aged stay in a familiar environment aids in their recovery and may save cost in the long run.

With the introduction of new toll charges for vehicles entering Johor, visitation costs will go up and may lead to fewer visits by family members.

What can the Government do to stop this trend?

First, reduce costs for nursing homes here. This can include offering co-funding, grants and incentives to operators to bring down costs. Second, provide more tax relief to encourage family members to take care of their aged parents.

Third, provide better medical care to delay the onset of age-related medical problems, social networks to encourage healthy living and home-support systems to assist family members in caring for elderly folk.

Lastly, convert existing infrastructure to support the greying population within current estates, instead of building new places or relocating residents.

As the report mentions, the aged prefer to stay in Singapore, if given a choice.

I hope the Government can fulfil their wishes by making local nursing homes more affordable.

Leong Kok Seng

This article was first published on April 17, 2015.
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