Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA)
To empower the State to intervene more effectively, Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will be introducing the VAA to protect vulnerable adults like seniors and persons with disability who are at risk of being abused or neglected.
The new law will be used only after other means of intervention have been exhausted. It will also cover cases of self-neglect in which seniors cause harm to themselves by neglecting their basic needs (e.g. food, medical needs, a safe living environment). The new law will give public officers powers to enter the home of a suspected victim to assess the case and relocate the person to a place of safety if necessary.
An Adult Protective Service within MSF has been set up to investigate cases of abuse which fall under the Act and arrange suitable services for these vulnerable seniors. The Service will also drive public education and community partnership efforts on the abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.
Mental Capacity Act
To encourage more people to plan ahead while they still have their mental capacity, the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) Form has been simplified and the application fee has been waived for Singaporeans until end-August 2020. Family members who need to make decisions for mentally incapacitated persons who did not or could not make an LPA can also look forward to a simpler Court process to be appointed as a deputy. This involves using standard forms and guides to enable family members to make deputy applications online on their own.
For those with no family members, the Professional Donees & Deputies scheme will be established to allow for certain professionals to be appointed as proxy decision-makers for remuneration. Also, the Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF) is piloting the Community Kin scheme, which will provide an affordable option for seniors who lack mental capacity with no next-of-kin to be supported by community-based VWOs in decision making as they age in the community. These VWOs can apply for a court order to manage their clients’ money, to meet day-to-day needs.