Govt should rethink resident engagement
THE petitioning by some residents of Bishan Street 13 (‘No to nursing home, say Bishan residents’; Monday) has led me to wonder if the Health Ministry and grassroots leaders have got it wrong in engaging residents affected by the plan to locate a nursing home there.
Such engagement on the building of eldercare facilities will attract only the noisy minority. What about the quiet majority who do not mind having the nursing home, or who are supportive of it, like me?
Instead of investing all resources into such face-to-face engagement, which inevitably turns out to be a platform for the naysayers, the Government should consider asking all residents to vote on the plan.
Call it a referendum, something similar to the Housing Board’s call for a vote by residents to approve lift upgrading. Information on the proposed facilities could be channelled to residents, and they should be asked to send in their feedback or votes.
While the decision must ultimately rest with the policymakers, it is unproductive to craft feedback mechanisms in which only the views of a loud minority are aired.
Yeo Chiat Wei
Source : The Straits Times – Govt should rethink resident engagement
Don’t isolate those in need of care and love
LET’S step back a little in time to 1992, when a hospice was planned to be built in Dover Road (‘No to nursing home, say Bishan residents’; Monday). Vehement objections ended in the hospice being ‘exported’ to another location.
If one were to go to Hougang, just behind and ‘below’ Yio Chu Kang Road, there exists a road named Napiri where the Salvation Army’s home, a hospice and other buildings for the mentally challenged and the aged are cloistered.
Farther away in Buangkok, on a hill suitable for a country club, we find the Institute of Mental Health. And there lies a cluster of homes for the aged and physically challenged.
My point is this: We are relegating people in need of care and love to isolated places. We have ‘botoxed’ seniors into buildings that look good outside but lack a heart inside, that is, the people who complain thus: Whatever you do, please don’t do it near my home.
The Housing Board’s pricing policy exacerbates the problem because flats with a good view are sold at a premium.
The day we relented in moving the planned hospice away from one crowd of objectors, that decision set the pace for public ‘consultations’ and the objections that followed.
It is not a matter of ‘if you don’t give me what I want, don’t give me what I don’t want’. Rather, it is ‘give me what I want and give others what they don’t want’.
Chen Sen Lenn
Source : The Straits Times – Don’t isolate those in need of care and love
Vital to locate nursing homes in heartland
WE ARE encouraged that the Health Ministry is engaging Singaporeans on nursing homes for the elderly (‘No to nursing home, say Bishan residents’; Monday). We know that many family caregivers would support its intention for nursing homes in every constituency by 2030.
Singaporeans who have cared for elderly people would also like to see progress in a wider range of eldercare and housing options to meet the growing needs of a rapidly ageing population in Singapore.
While home-care is preferred by most families, there will be situations when such care is not possible. All families will face decisions about care for parents, grandparents and siblings as they age and become frail. It is something that each individual will need to reconcile.
This is when the availability of nursing homes in housing estates will provide family caregivers with a viable option to have their elderly parents and close relatives cared for at nearby round-the-clock facilities with professional nursing staff led by doctors specialising in geriatric medicine.
In the absence of these facilities, more family caregivers might be compelled to leave the workforce to care for their loved ones full time. This could financially strain middle-aged Singaporeans with school-going children and elderly parents to support.
Having such facilities in housing estates will give family caregivers the option of working part- or full-time, while earning an income to help pay for the care of their loved ones.
Initial feedback from some Bishan residents appears heavily weighted against the nursing home project. We stand with current and future family caregivers in urging Singaporeans to be more accepting of nursing homes, just as we have embraced essential childcare services, schools, shopping malls, wet markets and food centres in our estates.
Given the social reality of an ageing population, eldercare facilities are becoming an equally essential and familiar feature in our neighbourhoods.
We wish the Government well in its continuing efforts to engage residents on accessible locations to site such facilities to support family caregivers, who can visit their loved ones on the way to or back from school and work. We also look forward to more Singaporeans accepting such facilities as part of the evolving heartland landscape, reflecting a truly inclusive Singapore.
Asian Women’s Welfare Association Centre for Caregivers
Source : The Straits Times – Vital to locate nursing homes in heartland