New initiatives to support families and caregivers
NTUC Health introduces flexible care options and more opportunities for seniors to age well as part of its plans to meet the evolving needs of seniors.
NTUC Health has announced new initiatives to enhance eldercare support for families and caregivers at the official opening of its new nursing home at Jurong Spring recently. These include more flexible care options and opportunities for active ageing. The home is one of three new nursing homes opened over the last two years, bringing the total number of nursing homes run by NTUC Health to six, with a combined capacity of 1,700 beds, and making it the largest nursing home operator in Singapore. The event was graced by Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung.
Most eldercare options today are longer term in nature where service is delivered on an ongoing rather than ad-hoc or temporary basis. NTUC Health shared new flexible care options for caregivers who are looking at short-term or temporary respite, as well as drop-in programmes for seniors living with dementia.
- Care on weekends – For instance, NTUC Health kicked off a pilot day care service on Sundays called Care On Sundays, to cater to caregivers who have elderly loved ones, including those living with dementia, who either require some care when their domestic helpers are away, or are simply looking for activities to occupy them over the weekend.
- Drop-in programmes for seniors with dementia – Families of seniors with dementia can also sign up for NTUC Health’s Fun with Friends, which is a weekly three-hour programme designed specifically for persons with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia.
- Engagement from home – A virtual day care programme called DayCare+ featuring live daily morning interactive sessions with our staff, and pre-recorded activities ranging from exercise, to games and virtual tours, is designed to maintain physical and cognitive functions. DayCare+ allows seniors to stay engaged in the comfort of their home. DayCare+ is also an option for existing clients who may not be able to come to the centre daily but do not wish to miss out on the action.
- Short-term care – NTUC Health also offers short-term care, such as home care, temporary stays at its nursing homes for a few days or weeks, and drop-in options at its day care centres for a few days every week, or as and when needed. This can be useful for caregivers who need to be out of the country for a while, or when domestic helpers go on home leave.
Caregivers can enquire directly with NTUC Health at https://ntuchealth.sg for short-term respite care arrangements including round-the-clock care for their loved ones, or as little as a few hours a week.
In line with Healthier SG, NTUC Health has been focusing on preventive health and enabling seniors to stay independent. For instance, fitness programmes such as circuit training, gym exercises and functional fitness training which improve core and muscle strength, have been introduced.
NTUC Health also encourages seniors to continue to learn and pursue their interests. At its active ageing centres, seniors volunteer to initiate and run activities with minimal supervision from staff. Groups of residents at its nursing homes also meet regularly to plan and run activities they think are suitable for their peers. In the last year, more lifestyle options have also been introduced at its nursing homes, including happy hour sessions, the choice to stay up after dinner for Fun-after-7 games, or to get their hair or nails done at an in-house salon.
Instead of relying solely on care staff, seniors at NTUC Health day care centres and nursing homes are encouraged, as far as possible, to exercise independence in their daily activities, such as preparing their own beverages at self-help pantries or cooking simple meals they like through mobile cooking stations.
Tan Kwang Cheak, CEO, Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), said, “These latest initiatives reflect NTUC Health’s commitment to empower seniors, and is also aligned with AIC’s goal of enabling them to age well and live gracefully. Offering seniors empowerment and choices to lead their daily lives will bring them a sense of purpose and dignity as they age.”
(** PHOTO CREDIT: NTUC Health)