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HDB expands home safety fixture scheme for elderly

Another 100,000 households with elderly members can now benefit from the scheme after HDB lowered the qualifying age criterion.

SINGAPORE: A scheme which subsidises the installation of elderly-friendly fixtures in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats has been expanded to include another 100,000 households.

The HDB said on Friday (Aug 1) it has lowered the age criterion for the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, under which fittings such as grab bars, ramps and slip-resistant treatment to the floor tiles in bathrooms are installed to help elderly family members move around in their flats.

The scheme, launched in July 2012, is now open to Singaporean households with an elderly family member who is 65 years old and above (lowered from 70 years old), or aged between 60 and 64 years old (lowered from between 65 and 69 years old) and requires assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing and feeding.

Households with two toilets can also apply for the provision of slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles and grab bars for the second toilet. Previously, the fittings were only installed in one toilet for each household.

GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY

The programme is heavily subsidised by the Government, with residents paying a small portion of the cost. Without the subsidy, a household that picks all the fixtures would have to pay S$2,500. The Government will absorb up to 95 per cent of the cost, and households only need to pay between S$125 and S$312.50, depending on their flat type.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a blogpost on Friday that the scheme has been well-received. “EASE seeks to prevent falls at home, a major cause of hospital admission.  Many seniors have told me that they can now move around at home with peace of mind,” he wrote.

He cited the example of Madam Hong Xiudan, who wrote in a forum letter to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao about how the scheme has helped her husband who suffered a stroke. She said HDB swiftly installed the EASE items in her flat, facilitating her husband’s return from the hospital, Mr Khaw wrote.

Households who wish to apply for the programme may download an application form on the HDB InfoWEB, or obtain an application form at any of the HDB Branches.

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