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A Complete Guide to Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)

What is the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme and am I eligible for it? Learn how EASE can enable your loved one to live independently and safely at home.

by Hannah Grey

With the growing ageing population in Singapore, there are many programmes and schemes set in place for elderly persons to tap into for their various care needs. If you’re looking to make your home safer and more elderly-friendly, consider the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme. 

What is the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme?

As we get older, we tend to become more susceptible to falls and slips. In order to prevent these minor injuries that can potentially lead to more serious consequences, families should consider installing special equipment and tools around the house that can help prevent falls. However, these assistive devices can be rather costly. 

Established as part of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in 2012, the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme is a government initiative that was introduced to improve the living conditions of seniors residing in HDB flats by ensuring that their living environment is elderly-friendly. 

The subsidies under this programme can cover anywhere from 87.5% to 95% of the cost of home modifications. 

What does the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme cover?

The EASE programme covers three main HDB modifications: grab bars, ramps, and slip-resistant treatment to existing floor tiles. 

Grab Bars

Safety grab bars are commonly installed in bathrooms and toilets to provide additional support for seniors, especially those who need mobility devices, to minimise the risk of slips and falls. 

These safety devices are designed to enable elderly persons to maintain their balance, support their weight while manoeuvring, and reduce the fatigue they experience while standing. Additionally, caregivers can also use grab bars to help transfer their loved one from one place to another. 

Under the EASE Programme, the grab bars provided comes in sets: 

  • First set: 8 to 10 grab bars for the first toilet and within the flat
  • Second set: 6 grab bars for the second toilet, where technically feasible

Ramps

Ramps are mainly installed to help wheelchair users get in and out of their homes with ease. This can also be useful for seniors who use e-scooters and other motorised or electronic mobile devices to move around at home or in public. 

When it comes to the safety of an elderly loved one, the use of ramps are definitely much safer compared to bringing a wheelchair up or down the stairs.

Under the EASE Programme, up to five ramps can be installed for each flat. This can range from a: 

  • Single-step ramp
  • Portable ramp (for multi-step entrance)
  • Customised ramp (for multi-step entrance) 

Do note that in the event where you and your household decide to sell your flat, you will have to bear the cost of the removal on your own. HDB is only responsible for the installation and will not reimburse applicants for the removal cost of the ramp. 

Slip-resistant Floor Treatment

Due to reduced mobility, many older adults tend to drag their feet or are not able to lift them as much. This leads to an increased risk of falls at home among seniors. To combat this, it is crucial to ensure that your flooring is slip-resistant if you are living with an elderly loved one at home. 

Slip-resistant floor treatment ensures that seniors have fewer tripping or slipping hazards, creating a safer environment for them to age in place. 

Under the EASE Programme, slip-resistant treatment will be installed to existing floor tiles of up to two bathrooms or toilets only. 

How much does it cost to improve your home under EASE?

The total amount you need to pay as well as the subsidies provided for you and your household will depend on your housing type. The smaller your flat type, the more subsidies you’ll receive. In the same way, the bigger your house is, the more you’ll have to pay. 

Below is a table of the estimated costs for the individual items, after governmental subsidies. 

EASE cost breakdown for individual items: 

Items 1, 2, and 3-room Flats4-Room Flat 5-Room Flat Executive 
Installation of 1st set of grab bars S$24.00S$36.00 S$48.00 S$60.00 
Installation of 2nd set of grab bars S$14.00S$21.00 S$28.00 S$35.00 
Single-step ramp (per ramp)S$13.00S$19.50S$26.00S$32.50
Portable rampS$35.00S$52.50S$70.00S$87.50
Customised ramp S$80.00S$120.00S$160.00S$200.00
Slip-resistant treatment to existing floor tiles S$11.00 S$16.50 S$22.00S$27.50 

While households have the option to apply for the individual HDB modifications, they can also opt for the full EASE package that includes all three improvement items. 

Full EASE package cost breakdown with single-step ramps:

Flat Type 1, 2, and 3-room Flats 4-Room Flat 5-Room Flat Executive 
How Much You’ll Need to Pay$125.00

(5%)

$187.50

(7.5%)

$250.00

(10%)

$312.50

(12.5%)

How Much the Subsidy will Cover For You$2,375.00

(95%)

$2,312.50

(92.5%)

$2,250.00

(90%)

$2,187.50

(87.5%)


Full EASE package cost breakdown with portable ramps: 

Flat Type 1, 2, and 3-room Flats 4-Room Flat 5-Room Flat Executive 
How Much You’ll Need to Pay$147.00

(5%)

$220.50

(7.5%)

$294.00

(10%)

$367.50

(12.5%)

How Much the Subsidy will Cover For You$2,793.00

(95%)

$2,719.50

(92.5%)

$2,646.00

(90%)

$2,572.50

(87.5%)


Full EASE package cost breakdown with customised ramps: 

Flat Type 1, 2, and 3-room Flats 4-Room Flat 5-Room Flat Executive 
How Much You’ll Need to Pay$192.00

(5%)

$288.00

(7.5%)

$384.00

(10%)

$480.00

(12.5%)

How Much the Subsidy will Cover For You$3,648.00

(95%)

$3,552.00

(92.5%)

$3,456.00

(90%)

$3,360.00

(87.5%)

Take note that these amounts are merely estimates and that you will be informed of the final amount before the installation works begin.

Am I eligible for the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme?

To qualify for the Enhancement for Active Seniors Programme, you need to be a Singaporean flat owner and have a family member in your household who is: 

  • 65 years old and above; or 
  • Between 60 and 64 years old, and needs assistance for at least one or more Activities of Daily Living (ALDs). This includes washing, toileting, dressing, feeding, transferring and functional mobility.

If you are applying for the EASE programme under HDB’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP), the age criterion will not be applicable. They have different eligibility criteria altogether. 

How can I apply for the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme?

Eligible seniors can either apply under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) or directly under EASE (Direct Application). 

For applicants whose residential blocks do not qualify for HIP, you can apply directly for EASE. Generally, applications submitted under Direct Application take a shorter time to process, so those who wish to get their flat improvements earlier should consider this procedure. 

How to Apply

To apply, simply download and complete the forms provided on the HDB website. Once all the necessary forms have been filled up, submit your application through the EASE (Direct Application) e-Service on the HDB portal or [email protected] mobile app. Applications that are not submitted through these channels will not be eligible for the programme. 

Instructional videos on how to apply for the EASE programme are also available here to guide you through the process.

Functional Assessment Report

If you have a family member between ages 60 and 64 years old who requires assistance for at least one of the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), a Functional Assessment Report is required prior to submitting your EASE application. 

The purpose of this report is to assess the need for assistive equipment and flat modifications. This report needs to be submitted during the EASE application and has to be approved by a qualified assessor such as a registered doctor under the Singapore Medical Council.

Frequently Asked Questions about the EASE Programme 

How long will the whole process take? 

On average, the entire process will take about a month, from application submission to equipment installation. 

What happens after I’ve submitted my application? 

Upon receiving your application, the HDB Branch managing your estate and vicinity will get back to you within 7 working days if your application is successful. 

Subsequently, an appointed HDB staff or contractor will get in touch with you to arrange for a pre-condition survey and set the installation date. 

Apart from the three main flat modifications available, can I have more elderly-friendly devices installed in my flat?

Yes, private arrangements can be made with the HDB contractors to include additional modifications. However, items beyond the EASE programme will not be subsidised. The applicant and their family will have to bear the full cost. 

Take Simple Steps to Make Your Home More Elderly-Friendly 

On top of the modifications provided by the EASE programme, there are plenty more ways to make your flat safer for your elderly loved ones. Simple adjustments you can make include switching to automated cookware to minimise the risk of unattended fires, staying away from slippery surfaces, and even storing your electrical cords properly to prevent falls. 

If cost is a concern, there are many other financial subsidies besides EASE that can help to offset the cost of caregiving. Learn more in our financial guide here

Sometimes, the best way to prevent accidents is to have a dedicated caregiver by your loved one’s side to ensure their safety. This not only reduces the risk of accidents but also ensures that they can get timely support in the unfortunate event of a fall. However, it’s not always possible to have a family member around due to other commitments. In such cases, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and engage a caregiver to carry out check-in visits or to support your loved one with activities of daily living.

References
  1. Grey, H. (2021, January 19). Activities of Daily Living (ADL) in Singapore. Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.homage.sg/resources/activities-of-daily-living-adl/
  2. Kimberly Graves Wolfinbarger, R. (n.d.). A Survey of Ramp and Stair Use among Older Adults – Kimberly Graves Wolfinbarger, Randa L. Shehab, 2000. Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/154193120004402421?journalCode=proe

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About the Writer
Hannah Grey
Hannah is an all-around creative with a flair for travel and photography. She also only has her coffee black, which should be the only way to drink it.
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