- POSTED: 18 Jan 2014 20:29
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Home care providers in Singapore are expanding their services in light of surging demand in recent years. One such provider - NTUC Eldercare - has seen the number of seniors tapping home care services rise more than three times over the past two years.
SINGAPORE: Home care providers in Singapore are expanding their services in light of surging demand in recent years.
One such provider - NTUC Eldercare - has seen the number of seniors tapping home care services rise more than three times over the past two years.
In 2012, the number of seniors tapping home care services was 80. In 2013, it rose to 250.
The expansion of home care is crucial as the Health Ministry looks to serve up to 10,000 seniors by 2020.
Over the past two years, home care services have been expanding, with some 5,000 clients supported last year compared to 4,000 in 2011.
After suffering a fall in 2011, Mdm Lee Ah Huay was admitted to the hospital and was bed-ridden.
But after spending more than a year in St Luke's Community Hospital and a nursing home, Mdm Lee's family opted for home nursing as they wanted her to recuperate in the comfort of her own home.
Since last July, a senior care associate from NTUC Eldercare has been assisting Mdm Lee by teaching her exercises to improve her mobility and offering her companionship.
The care associate visits her three times a week and each session usually lasts for about two hours.
Her family is relieved that her condition has improved.
Mdm Lee’s son, Lim Yeong Chai, said: "Initially, they tried to talk to her and gave her encouragement and got her to speak up. She has actually improved a lot."
Mr Lim added that because of the affordability of this service, he would continue to utilise it. After subsidies, he pays about S$120 a month.
To cater to the varying needs of an ageing population, NTUC Eldercare has been broadening its home care services.
Pang Sze Yunn, assistant GM of home care services at NTUC Eldercare, said: "We've seen that over the last few years, their needs have become more complex in addition to the social needs, such as bathing and mentally-stimulating activities. They were starting to need also nursing, therapy and medical care.
“So in June 2013, we expanded home nursing, home therapy and home medical and having all under one roof means that our clients can come to us for this holistic and comprehensive service instead of having to go to different providers for different services."
As part of efforts to expand capacity in its aged care services, NTUC Eldercare launched the Place and Train pilot in 2012.
The aim of the programme is to attract more locals into the industry, especially housewives and retirees who may be looking for flexibility in their work hours.
Ms Pang said: "Locals would be ideal for delivering such services because of that cultural connection and that language connection with the elderly."
To grow this sector further, the Health Ministry, together with Thye Hua Kwan Home Help Service and NTUC Eldercare, piloted a 12-hour home care service to support caregivers who need interim care for their loved ones after they are discharged.
This would help provide seniors with care while waiting for a full-time maid.
This service is now being introduced at all public hospitals and some community hospitals.