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07 Nov 2022

5th Jul 2021

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Lim Wee Kiak
MP for Sembawang GRC

Question No. 1239

To ask the Minister of Health (a) whether the Government anticipates an upward trend in the number of the elderly with mobility issues; (b) how will the Government adjust future policy decisions so that the elderly who live alone will have convenient access to support; and (c) whether the Government will also look into promoting preventive healthcare measures to prevent or slow down the onset of mobility issues.

Written Answer

With an ageing population, we have seen an increase in the number of elderly with mobility issues. Based on the Singapore Census of Population, the number of residents in resident households aged 65 years and over who had mobility issues grew from around 25,500 to 50,000 between 2000 and 2020. This represents 11% and 8% of the resident population aged 65 and above in 2000 and 2020 respectively.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is cognisant of the needs of the elderly who live alone and have put in place measures to help them have convenient access to various services. These measures include subsidies under the Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF) for seniors requiring assistive devices such as wheelchairs and motorised devices so they can be mobile, senior-friendly housing such as the new Community Care Apartments for seniors to age independently in the community, as well as befriending or buddying services under the new Eldercare Centre service model so there is someone they can turn to for support. Seniors with mobility issues are also assisted through Medical Escort and Transport services to attend medical appointments or treatment, and there are daily meal deliveries through our Meals-on-Wheels programme for home-bound seniors. MOH will continue to review and strengthen our policies, services, and programmes for seniors to age well in the community, and provide the necessary support especially to those living alone.

We agree with the importance of health promotion and preventive efforts to delay the decline in physical ability. There are active ageing and frailty prevention programmes in community nodes such as Community Centres, Residents’ Networks, Active Ageing Centres, and Active Ageing Care Hubs. For example, Rolling Good Times is a falls prevention programme that seeks to improve seniors’ strength and balance through exercises, raise awareness of common falls situations, and teach seniors how to minimise the risk of injuries during a fall.  In addition, the Healthy Ageing Promotion Programme For You (HAPPY) programme combines physical and mental exercises to delay the onset of cognitive and frailty conditions. We will continue to promote these programmes and reach out to the elderly.