PAP MPs raise concerns relating to wellbeing of seniors in Parliament


PAP Members of Parliament care about the wellbeing of seniors in Singapore and want to ensure they receive support. During the last Parliament session in early May, several MPs raised concerns relating to senior citizens.

Ensuring that seniors can age in their homes comfortably is a top priority for MPs. MP for Bukit Batok SMC Murali Pillai asked if subsidies under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) 2.0 programme could be extended to HDB flat owners who are seniors’ children. Some seniors live with their children on a rotational basis. However, he noted that the total subsidies given to such households should not exceed what a single eligible household would ordinarily receive.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said that Singaporean households may apply for the EASE 2.0 programme if a family member is aged 65 years and above, or between 60 and 64 years and requires assistance with at least one activity of daily living. He pointed out that even if the seniors and their children reside in or own different HDB flats, their respective households may each receive the full EASE subsidy for the respective flat types. The seniors do not need to be listed as occupiers of their children’s HDB flats.

MP for Jalan Besar GRC Denise Phua also asked if EASE 2.0 programme could be partially or fully extended to eligible elderly retirees living in non-HDB estates.

Mr Lee said that HDB’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP) and EASE 2.0 programme cover a range of enhancements tailored for HDB flats, which are standardised. He noted that private homes vary greatly in design and layout. His Ministry will continue to study how seniors living in private homes can be better supported to age in place.

On looking after seniors’ health, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Joan Pereira asked if kidney health tests could be incorporated into Project Silver Screen, the national functional screening programme for seniors.

Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung said there unfortunately is no known cost-effective screening test for kidney disease. He pointed out the current medical evidence supports screening higher-risk patients for kidney disease, like those with diabetes and/or hypertension. This is currently done under Healthier SG.

MP for West Coast GRC Rachel Ong inquired about plans to leverage smart water meters installed by SP Group. She asked if monitoring and push alerts could be made available to caregivers of seniors living alone when anomalies arise in home water usage.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said that by 2024, PUB – Singapore’s National Water Agency – intends to install smart water meters for roughly 300,000 premises as part of Phase 1 of the Smart Water Meter Programme. Households in the programme would then be able to better track and manage their water usage.  

She noted there are currently no plans to use these meters to monitor seniors and provide alerts to caregivers. PUB will review the findings from Phase 1 of the programme before considering other applications.

Regarding protecting seniors from dengue fever, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Nadia Ahmad Samdin asked if there are targeted materials and efforts to educate and protect seniors from dengue. She also inquired if there are partnerships with healthcare institutions to conduct further screening at dengue hot spots in Singapore.

In response, Ms Fu explained that the National Environment Agency (NEA) has taken targeted steps to educate and protect seniors from dengue. For example, NEA works with partners like the Ministry of Health, the Silver Generation Office, social service agencies and senior centres to distribute educational materials on dengue prevention and insect repellent in dengue clusters.

She stressed that primary healthcare providers play a crucial role in managing dengue patients. Doctors are reminded to watch closely for dengue fever in people with related symptoms. NEA and MOH also work with General Practitioner clinics and polyclinics to engage individuals diagnosed or suspected of having dengue to stop transmission.

She said that GP clinics and polyclinics, especially those located in key dengue clusters, will receive posters, brochures, and other materials on preventing further dengue spread and proper care this year.