Thursday, November 15, 2012

HDB catching up after slow start to elderly scheme

The Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) scheme may have started on a low note but the Housing and Development Board (HDB) is determined to step up efforts to engage more elderly residents, reported The Straits Times.

In Kallang / Whampoa and Bukit Merah, only about 120 of the 16,000 eligible households have utilised the subsidised grab bars, ramps and non-slip tiles offered under the scheme. These towns were chosen to pilot the scheme, given that they have the highest number of homes with residents aged 65 and above.

According to HDB officer Lau Kim Soon, the scheme’s muted reception may be attributed to the lack of awareness among residents. As such, they plan to work to encourage more residents in future.

In Bedok North, however, the reception was warmer, as around 68 percent of the 691 households under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) have participated in EASE.

The disparity in reception may be the result of exhibitions conducted in Bedok North, while residents in Kallang / Whampoa and Bukit Merah had to apply directly to the HDB.

Aside from that, households that directly apply for EASE are required to have a family member aged 70 and above, which does not apply if the HIP is combined with EASE.

Still, at least 75 percent of the households offered the combined scheme are expected to agree before it pushes through.

“We know the numbers are not very encouraging and there's a language barrier for some elderly residents, but we have been ramping up awareness efforts by setting up booths at community events,” said Lau.

In fact, HDB officers are now taking part in an awareness campaign and presenting iPad slideshows in four official languages.

Around 190 direct applications were from elderly residents in other estates.

View the original article here

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