For 79-year-old Madam Lim Puay Hua, climbing up the four flights of stairs to her third-floor maisonette is a 30-minute ordeal.
She broke her leg and hurt her head in a fall two years ago and now needs the aid of a walking stick.
The elderly woman walks with her maid to the nearby wet market for grocery shopping twice a week, her only outings from the flat.
"When I reach home, I just collapse on the bed in exhaustion. I even lose my appetite," she told The New Paper in Teochew.
She recalled the times when she had to call for a private ambulance to go to the hospital for check-ups, which are about once every two months.
"They carried me on a stretcher down the stairs and it was scary. I even hoped that it would be the last time they had to carry me down," she said jokingly.
Madam Lim has lived in the maisonette with her son, who is in his 50s, for 25 years. She said she cannot afford to move out on her own and her son does not intend to move.
She and her neighbours could only look on enviously as a nearby maisonette block with 12 units went through the lift upgrading programme (LUP).
The Hougang Ave 8 resident lives in a 4-floor maisonette block with only eight units. It cannot be selected for the LUP as it would be too costly.
There are about 200 blocks islandwide that are unable to benefit from the LUP because of cost or architectural reasons, said MP Yeo Guat Kwang at the committee of supply debate last week.
A distance away in the same estate, residents at Block 363, Hougang Avenue 5, have a similar wish for lifts.
In their case, the unique layout of the block makes it not feasible to install extra lifts, the HDB said. The block is made up of three segments of staggered heights - 10, 12 and 14 floors high.