|By Tan Weizhen|
Although nursing homes are a necessity as the population ages, the Government wants to help elderly Singaporeans to grow old in their own homes as far as possible and will expand services to help them, said Lim Boon Heng. --ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
ALTHOUGH nursing homes are a necessity as the population ages, the Government wants to help elderly Singaporeans to grow old in their own homes as far as possible and will expand services to help them, said Lim Boon Heng, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday night.
He said services such as day care, home care, escort, transport, befriending services are required and will be expanded over time.
Caregivers will also get support by tapping on volunteers and non-profit organisations like churches.
Speaking at the 50th anniversary dinner of the Catholic Welfare Services, Mr Lim said the Government will do more to provide information and referral, develop relevant services, and promote the use of the caregiver training grant, which provides $200 subsidises to train a caregiver.
He also urged the private sector, such as nursing homes and other organisations, to work with the government to achieve this, as well as to provide the elderly more opportunities to be socially active.
Mr Lim said as Singapore enters the 'threshold of rapid aging', the demand for nursing home beds will rise to cope with the growing aging population.
'Our baby boomers will join the ranks of 'elderly' in a few years. Assuming the same level of demand we have now, the need for nursing home beds will double in 10 years, triple in 20 years,' he said.
He disclosed that discussion to expand two nursing homes - St Theresa's Home and St Joseph's Home - is underway.
They are under the care of the Catholic Welfare Services (CWS), and its third nursing home, Villa Francis, is already being relocated and expanded.
The dinner, held at Bliss Garden Restaurant at Singapore Expo, was also attended by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Reverend Nicholas Chia, Archbishop of Singapore, and Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Singapore, along with 600 guests, staff from nursing homes, VWOs, volunteers and board members.