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Growing preference among elderly residents to ‘age in place’: HDB survey

Growing preference among elderly residents to ‘age in place’: HDB survey

An elderly man gets a morning workout at a fitness corner in Toa Payoh on Jun 19, 2020, the first day of Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: More elderly residents of Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats hope to stay put and grow older in their existing homes, according to the findings of an HDB survey released on Wednesday (Feb 10).

The latest Sample Household Survey, conducted in 2018 among nearly 8,000 households across all HDB estates, aimed to gather feedback about public housing and residents’ changing needs. It is conducted once every five years.

The survey found that 86 per cent of elderly residents intended to continue living in their existing flats, up from 80 per cent in 2013.

This was because they “found it comfortable or had an emotional attachment to it, having developed fond memories of the time spent with their family in the flat”, HDB said. “The elderly continued to show a strong preference to age in place.”

READ: Assisted living flats for seniors would plug gap in housing market, fulfil various needs: Experts

If they were to need help with daily life, more elderly residents also felt that the ideal living arrangement would be to stay in their own homes, while having family members or domestic helpers care for them.

The proportion of residents who believed this was the best option rose from 37 per cent in 2013 to 46.2 per cent in 2018.

Survey findings on elderly HDB residents' ideal living arrangements if they were to need help with daily life. (Photo: HDB)

Additionally, more than four in 10 were willing to stay at assisted-living facilities should there be a need to, so that they could have access to professional medical and nursing care.

These findings come as the proportion of elderly HDB residents, aged 65 and above, rose from 9.8 per cent in 2008 to 16.5 per cent a decade later, with the overall number of these residents hitting more than half a million in 2018.

SATISFACTION WITH FLAT

The survey also found that elderly residents were highly satisfied with their flats, for reasons such as the spaciousness of the unit or its convenient location.

In 2018, 94.7 per cent of these residents viewed their flat as value for money, slightly down from the 96.8 per cent in 2013.

READ: HDB launches one-stop portal for flat purchases

“Among the elderly who felt that their flats were value for money, most attributed it mainly to affordable flat prices at the time of purchase, followed by the appreciation in the value of the flat. Some also mentioned that the flat was in a good location and close to various facilities,” HDB said.

A total of 80 per cent were proud of their home in 2018, up from 76 ​​​​​​​per cent in 2013.

As for housing aspirations, 77.7 per cent of the elderly were content with their present flat type.

DOWNSIZING IN OLD AGE

The survey also asked respondents about preferred housing types for when they get older.

About 92.3 per cent of households surveyed would like to live in HDB flats in their old age.

“Of these, close to half would prefer to live in three-room and smaller flats in their old age, citing ease of maintenance and the need for less space, as their household size decreased in their later years,” HDB said.

It added that those who preferred five-room and executive flats wanted more space for their family members to live together or to hold gatherings.

HDB said it would continue to offer variety in its flat offerings to cater to households with different needs and budgets.

Editor's note: The percentages of elderly residents who viewed their flat as value for money and who were proud of their home in 2013 have been updated based on HDB's revised definition of elderly households in the Sample Household Survey.

Source: CNA/cl(hs)

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