To meet the increasing need for quality and affordable home-based eldercare services, NTUC Eldercare has laid out plans to expand its Care@home programme, an island-wide home-care service to look after the frail and home-bound elderly. In support of this programme, NTUC Eldercare receives a generous donation of $1 million from NTUC FairPrice Foundation.
The plans include building capabilities to provide a wider range of intermediate and long term home-care services, enhancing the service quality, and enabling caregivers to better cope with the pressure of caring for seniors at home.
This announcement was made at a graduation ceremony of iCare officers who will be certified to provide community home care for the Care@home programme. Guest-of-Honour Mr Lim Boon Heng, Chairman of NTUC Eldercare, joined by Director of FairPrice Foundation and Group CEO of NTUC FairPrice, Mr Tan Kian Chew graced the event.
Mr Lim Boon Heng, Chairman of NTUC Eldercare, said, “We know that it is the desire of many seniors to age in their own homes, among their family members and friends, even when they are frail. However, with smaller families today, many working children are finding it hard to cope with the financial, emotional and mental pressures that arise from caring for seniors at home. Thus, it is important to provide more accessible home-care and community-based services through developing the right capabilities and care infrastructures. This will help more seniors to age in place”.
Donation to Benefit Home-Care Service and Union Members
Commenting on how the FairPrice Foundation donation will be used, Mr Tan Kian Chew, Director of FairPrice Foundation and Group CEO of FairPrice, said, “We are glad to announce today that FairPrice Foundation will be donating $1 million to NTUC Eldercare to scale up its Care@home service, which is an island-wide home-care service to look after frail and home-bound elderly. As part of the Labour Movement, part of the funds will also be set aside for low-income union workers who need Care@home services.”
About 80% of the $1 million will go towards developing capabilities in providing a wider range of intermediate and long-term home-based care services, which includes care planning, home nursing, dementia care management, physiotherapy and caregivers’ training; and to enhance the current processes through training and up-skilling of existing staff and organizational development. The remaining 20% of the donation will be set aside to develop specific care programmes to assist low-income union workers in caring for their seniors, so as to reduce the financial, emotional and physical stress on them.
With this donation, NTUC Eldercare is also applying to receive funds from the Community Silver Trust, a government grant that matches every dollar for each dollar of funds raised for Intermediate and Long-term Care services.
Building Capabilities to Develop a Range of Intermediate and Long Term Home Care Services
NTUC Eldercare started its Care@home Programme in April 2007 as a pilot project to offer alternative non-medical care services to seniors who are frail and home-bound, and who required some form of care and support while their family members were at work. The services include companionship, personal grooming, exercises, recreation activities, meals preparation and medical escort. These services are delivered by a team of iCare Officers who are trained in community home care giving. The Care@home team has served more than 400 seniors since its inception. Care@home has also since evolved to provide caregivers training as well as care management in the past one year for clients from all social background.
Moving forward, NTUC Eldercare plans to build up a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of geriatric care managers, physiotherapists, nurses and iCare officers, so as to provide seniors and their family members a more holistic support and a wider range of home-care services.
The geriatric care managers will visit the seniors at home and conduct an assessment of the seniors’ medical issues, functional and financial abilities, home safety, formal and informal support systems, and make recommendations for appropriate services. They help the frail seniors and their family members to navigate the various public and community health and social services available, so as to find the right services and at the right cost to manage their intermediate and long-term health conditions.
With a multi-disciplinary team, the home-care services can be delivered in a more senior-centric and cost-effective manner. For example, a senior who is discharged from the hospital and recuperating at home may need the professional care of a physiotherapist to assess and customize his therapy goals and treatment exercises that will help him improve his range of motion, physical strength and balance. At the same time, he can tap on the service of an iCare officer to help him with his daily exercises and other social care needs.
NTUC Eldercare will also look at developing new capabilities in specific disease and chronic management, such as cancer, stroke and dementia care management for seniors at home.
Caring for Families and Caregivers as a Labour Movement
The generous donation from FairPrice Foundation to NTUC Eldercare marks a meaningful joint effort by both NTUC social enterprises to better the lives of workers and their families in Singapore.
Moving forward as a Labour Movement, the NTUC family of 12 social enterprises will continue its quest to ‘Do More Good’ and extend its reach to bring about greater social impact to Singapore.