With the myriad of elder care options available in Singapore, how do you decide which is the most suitable for your loved one?
Read on to discover the different care options available, the services they provide, estimated cost, subsidies available (if any) and recommended organisations.
Elderly day care
Elderly day care is a full-day programme to keep seniors engaged while their caregivers are busy at work. Often, seniors who attend elderly day care require minimal supervision but can benefit from the programme, which may range from rehabilitation therapy to recreational activities.
Services provided at elderly day care centres include:
- Personal care: Seniors can get support with non-medical care needs, including activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing and getting dressed.
- Recreational activities: Day care centres plan social activities for seniors to participate in with their peers, such as karaoke and arts and craft sessions, to help them stay active in both body and mind.
- Exercises: Depending on the senior’s mobility level, a personalised maintenance exercise plan will be drawn up to improve strength, balance, and flexibility, which is key in fall prevention.
- Caregiver support: Some centres may have talks, support groups, and demonstrations to empower family caregivers in delivering the best care to their loved ones.
Typically, elderly day care is best for seniors who are relatively healthy and mobile enough to get around independently. With day care, seniors can try different activities in a safe and supervised environment while interacting with their peers, instead of staying at home alone and watching the same few TV dramas on repeat. This can help them stay physically, mentally, and socially active.
However, elderly day care centres may be less suitable for seniors who prefer solitude and value their own space and privacy. Those with greater care needs should also consider the other options available.
The cost of elderly day care varies depending on the centre and types of activity provided.
Senior activity centres (SAC) run by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) are conveniently located at the void decks of HDB flats, and best of all, are free of charge! These centres also hold basic health prevention programmes such as dementia screening and collaborate with hospitals to provide community nursing care. Seniors and families can also obtain more information on government schemes and referrals to services relevant to eldercare at these centres.
Alternatively, privately run day care centres may charge anywhere between $945 to $1,430 per month, assuming daily attendance on weekdays.
Recommended elderly day care centres
- Orange Valley Nursing Home
- NTUC Health Senior Day Care (Silver Circle)
- Hovi Care
- Daily Living Care from $21/hour
- Nursing Care from $24/hour
- Home Therapy from $180/hour
Chronic illnesses like hypertension and osteoarthritis often come with age, and with the rise of social isolation and loneliness among seniors, therapy and rehabilitation are more important than ever.
Here are some types of healthcare centres available and the services they provide:
- Dementia day care: Seniors with dementia require specialised care and the comfort of a familiar environment to slow the progress of their condition. As such, dementia day care centres offer programmes that focus on mental stimulation and the preservation of personal identity, and often include design elements that provide comfort and familiarity or even jolt memories of yesteryears.
- Cost: between $900 and $1700 per month (before subsidy)
- Day hospice care: Day hospice care centres provide medical, nursing and psychosocial care for individuals with terminal illness. A team of trained healthcare professionals will attend to the individual and help with pain and symptom management and improve their quality of life. Bereavement support is also provided for family caregivers.
- Cost: between $10 and $15 per visit (before means-testing)
- Day rehabilitation: As its name suggests, day rehabilitation centres provide physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help seniors regain strength and mobility, so they can live independently and stay active. Rehabilitation sessions are conducted by licensed therapists using specialised equipment at the centre. Fees are charged on a per-session basis.
- Cost: up to $160 per session (before subsidies)
For seniors who may not need constant surveillance but can benefit from short sessions of rehabilitation or medical care, healthcare centres are the most suitable option for them. From dementia care to rehabilitation, healthcare centres offer specialised programmes that are more closely tailored to an individual’s needs.
As mentioned above, the price range of healthcare centres varies greatly, from as low as $10 up to $160 per visit, depending on the type of care you require and the centre itself.
Understanding that intermediate to long-term care can be financially draining for many families, subsidies are available for government-funded intermediate long-term care (ILTC) services, and they apply to most healthcare centres. Means testing will be conducted to determine the amount of subsidy you are eligible for.
Recommended healthcare centres
- AWWA Singapore
- St Luke’s Eldercare
- National Council of Social Service (NCSS) Day Centres
Source: Coconuts Singapore
Domestic helpers are another eldercare option you can consider. Besides keeping the house clean and tidy, domestic helpers who have relevant experience can provide care support for seniors.
If your domestic helper does not have the relevant caregiving experience, there are caregiver training courses you can send them to equip them with the right skill sets to care for your loved one. This can include medication management, oral or nasogastric tube (NGT) feeding, fall prevention strategies, support with ADLs, and specialised care for seniors with specific conditions. Many of these courses are not limited to domestic helpers but can benefit family caregivers as well. There are also trainers who can come to your home to conduct the training.
Alternatively, the Eldercarer Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) Scheme allows you to directly hire a FDW who has already undergone eldercare training.
The full range of services each helper is qualified to perform varies greatly depending on their training and experience, but here are some of the services that may be provided:
- Housekeeping duties: Common duties that domestic helpers can help with include cooking, washing, cleaning, mopping, laundry, and meal preparation.
- Personal care: Domestic helpers may also be required to care for children, seniors, or adults with disabilities. However, since they are not medically trained, they should only be expected to support non-medical needs, including ADLs like bathing and toileting.
Since domestic helpers provide one-to-one care in the comfort of home, this care option is most suitable for seniors who are relatively healthy and value their personal space, but can benefit from companionship and need some help around the house or with ADLs.
However, do note that the core duties of domestic helpers still revolve around housekeeping duties, so seniors with more specialised care needs will still require the support of a medical professional.
Hiring a domestic helper costs approximately $600 to $850 per month. However, there are financial schemes available to offset some of the costs.
Families who hire a domestic helper to care for a senior at home will be eligible for the FDW Levy Concession, where they only have to pay a FDW levy of $60 a month instead of the usual $300. Each household is eligible for two FDW levy concessions at any point in time.
Replacing the FDW grant, the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) pays out $250 or $400 in cash to eligible Singaporeans each month, to support families caring for loved ones with moderate to severe disabilities. This cash grant may be used to partially offset the cost of hiring domestic helpers.
If you plan to send your domestic helper to caregiver training but are concerned about the cost, fret not! The government provides a Caregiver Training Grant (CTG) of $200 a year, which can help to offset some of the cost of caregiving classes. Those considering the Eldercarer FDW Scheme can also use CTG to offset the training costs.
Recommended domestic help providers
- Nation Employment
- Xedge Resources
Nursing homes, commonly known as old folks’ homes, are centres staffed by qualified nurses and trained caregivers who provide 24/7 care support for seniors.
Even today, the stigma of sending your parents to a nursing home persists. Many still consider nursing homes dreadful places with poor living conditions and low-quality care, but that’s not true!
There are nursing homes out there with vibrant environments and genuinely caring staff who give their all for the seniors at the homes. But of course, you will have to do your due diligence when searching and evaluating nursing homes to find one that best suits your loved one’s needs and preferences. Here is a handy guide on nursing homes so you know what considerations you need to take note of.
Services provided at nursing homes include:
- Personal care: 24/7 support with ADLs such as showering and toileting.
- Nursing care: Nurses are available round-the-clock for nursing care, including tube feeding, wound dressing, catheterization, and more.
- Recreational activities: Nursing homes have a host of activities available, such as puzzles and ring toss, to keep seniors mentally, physically, and socially engaged.
- Medical care: Nursing homes may have medical doctors who visit the home on a regular basis.
- Rehabilitation therapy: Physiotherapists and occupational therapists may be available to help seniors regain strength and mobility and maintain independence. Speech therapists can also help with swallowing difficulties and communication.
- Diet planning: Nursing homes may have dieticians who plan the meals for seniors at nursing homes to ensure they get the nutrition they need to stay strong and healthy. This is especially important for seniors who need to watch their dietary intake due to common chronic conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.
For caregivers who are juggling multiple responsibilities, it can be difficult to give our parents the care they need and deserve, especially if they require a high level of care support such as 24/7 nursing care or support with ADLs. Caregiver burnout is also a pressing issue that can not only adversely affect the caregiver’s well-being, but also the care that the senior receives. Instead of taking all these responsibilities upon yourself, nursing homes could be a better option for both you and your loved one. Social interaction with the staff and fellow residents can also prevent loneliness and stimulate the mind.
Staying in a nursing home costs approximately $2,000 to $3,600 per month before subsidy. Additional charges may apply for special or emergency needs.
While this can be costly, nursing homes are considered a government-funded ILTC service and therefore will be subsidised by up to 75% for Singaporean Citizens or Permanent Residents who are eligible.
Recommended nursing homes
- Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home
- Peacehaven Nursing Home
- Apex Harmony Lodge
- St. Andrew’s Nursing Home
Live-in nurses are medically trained professionals who are qualified to provide in-home nursing care. Compared to domestic helpers who may have to split their attention between household chores and caregiving, live-in nurses are dedicated to providing undivided attention and personalised nursing care to your loved one so you can have peace of mind.
- Personal care: Round-the-clock support with ADLs such as showering and toileting.
- Nursing care: Professional nursing care which includes tube feeding, wound dressing and stoma care.
Seniors who need round-the-clock nursing care but prefer the comfort and privacy of home can consider engaging a live-in nurse or nurse aide. For example, this arrangement may be particularly suitable for individuals with dementia, where being in a familiar environment can help them stay calm and prevent disorientation. Those who require palliative or hospice care may also be more comfortable at home.
However, these are not the only people who should engage a live-in nurse. Increasingly, Singaporeans are preferring to age in place. Live-in nurses allow almost all individuals, including those who need nursing care, to fulfil that wish.
One downside of having live-in nurses is that they will require time off to rest as well. This means that if your loved one requires 24/7 nursing care, a live-in nurse may not be able handle it alone. To mitigate this, Homage has a round-the-clock system where home nurses will change shifts every 12 hours (or less) so that the nurse-on-duty is always fresh and alert to attend to your loved one’s needs.
Engaging a live-in nurse will cost you an estimated $600 to $1,000 per month before subsidies. Home-based nursing care is classified under ILTC non-residential services, so subsidies of up to 80% are available for eligible households.
Homage’s nursing care services start from $24 per hour, and may vary depending on the type of nursing procedures your loved one requires. However, you may use the $250 or $400 cash payout from the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) to offset some of the cost.
Recommended live-in nursing care providers
- Anglo Nurses
- Marigold Caregivers
On-demand home care
On-demand home care is an eldercare service where trained caregivers or medical professionals visit the senior’s home to deliver care. The care session is fully customisable and personalised, and the duration can be as long or as short as you need it to be.
Care services that can be delivered on-demand in the comfort of your loved one’s home include:
- Personal care: Trained caregivers who are experienced in caring for seniors can provide companionship, help with meal preparation, and support with ADLs such as washing and toileting.
- Nursing care: Qualified nurses can visit your home to perform simple and complex nursing procedures, such as changing of feeding tubes, whenever required.
- Medical care: House call doctors can make a physical trip to your place to attend to your medical needs, while teleconsultations allow you to consult a doctor anywhere.
- Physiotherapy: Those who require physiotherapy often have impaired mobility. Hence, it makes sense that physiotherapists come to you instead. Home physiotherapists will visit your home to conduct the physiotherapy session to help you regain strength and mobility.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapists can help you regain fine motor and cognitive skills for greater independence in daily life. In a home environment, an occupational therapist may be able to better understand your unique lifestyle habits and living environment to better customise a care plan for you and offer home modification tips.
- Speech therapy: Speech therapists work to help individuals with communication and swallowing difficulties to improve in their communication and eat and drink safely.
Among all the elderly care options in this list, on-demand home care provides the greatest flexibility and is suitable for all seniors—from those who need only a short check-in visit and companionship, to individuals who need medical care 24/7.
Depending on the type of care you need, the cost of on-demand home care ranges from $21 to $180 per hour. Going by an hourly rate ensures that you only pay for the hours you need, keeping care affordable for all.
Since home-based care is considered an ILTC non-residential service, subsidies of up to 80% are available for eligible households. The Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) can also be used to partially offset the cost of home care services.
At Homage, we provide a full suite of home care services for seniors, starting from just an hour. Reach out to our Care Advisors at 6100 0055 to receive a free care consult and learn more about how we can deliver top-quality, personalised care for your loved one.
At Homage, we provide a full suite of home care services for seniors, starting from just an hour. Reach out to receive a free care consult and learn more about how we can deliver top-quality, personalised care for your loved one.
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- SUBSIDIES FOR GOVERNMENT-FUNDED INTERMEDIATE LONG-TERM CARE SERVICES. Retrieved 16 April 2022, from https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies/subsidies-for-government-funded-intermediate-long-term-care-services
- Eldercarer Foreign Domestic Worker Scheme. Retrieved 16 April 2022, from https://www.aic.sg/caregiving/eldercarer-foreign-domestic-worker-scheme
- Lin, C. (2021). Growing preference among elderly residents to ‘age in place’: HDB survey. Retrieved 16 April 2022, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/elderly-hdb-ageing-assisted-living-sample-household-survey-341871