30000 Older Singaporeans face Isolation

SOME 30,000 elderly folk, who are living alone, or are divorced, widowed or in poor health, face social isolation, said Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan.

To reach out to them, he said various befriending and couselling services are available to them, said the minister in his reply to a question in Parliament on Monday from Nominated MP Terry Lee, who had asked if there were recent studies done on the day-to-day living conditions of the aged, especially those in destitute.

Dr Balakrishnan said the needs of the elderly poor are multi-faceted and his ministry is committed to supporting them in three key areas - by giving them financial aid, affordable and accessible health and long-term care; and helping them to stay active and socially engaged.

He also highlighted various schemes to help the needy elderly financially and improving their living conditions.

The Government is also developing a healthcare system that is relevant to Singapore's ageing demography and will provide more opportunities for active ageing, he added.

Sawatdee Kid, you have brought up an issue which needs to be emphasised. This doctor-minister Balakrishnanan is a very intelligent innovative man - if he can make the alleviation of miseries and hardship for this group of forsaken lonely old folks a mission he will make his mark as a worthy politician and leader of S'pore in the traditions of the Hipporatic Oath he took.

I suggest he clarify the various schemes available for the lay public for these group in our population and telescope it into a a single "institution and government endeavour" identifiably. There is this suggestion I wish to make i.e. also invite the emphatic members of our more fortunate S'poreans to volunteer to help by effort or donate in kind without the suspicion that monies donated will be overly used or abused for "administration or aggrandisations".

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