Temasek Cares - CAN (Caring Assistance from Neighbours)
Helping the vulnerable elderly better manage their health condition, age in place and strengthen neighbourhood support system.
Partners: Agency for Integrated Care
Photo Credit: Temasek Cares
The number of elderly living alone in Singapore is projected to reach 61,000 by the year 2020 and 83,000 by 2030. More than 70% of them are aged between 61 - 80 years old and suffer from chronic illnesses such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. Nearly 15% have psychiatric conditions such as dementia and depression. Seniors living alone without caregiver support often do not manage their medical conditions well. They do not, or are unable to, comply with their prescribed medication regime or treatment plan due to denial, low health literacy or medicine fatigue. As a result, they are at risk of accelerated deterioration of their health.
The Agency for Integrated Care (“AIC”) and Temasek Cares have set up a pilot programme, known as CAN (Caring Assistance from Neighbours), to help the vulnerable elderly better manage their health condition. Under the programme, trained community caregivers visit the elderly at home to monitor their health and provide assistance on a daily basis. They assist the elderly to understand their illness, remind them to take their medication and measure key health indicators. The daily monitoring will help pick up negative changes in health earlier and result in more timely medical intervention. Such an approach to chronic disease management would strengthen the neighbourhood support system and allow more elderly to age in place.
The pilot programme targets 2 districts in the Taman Jurong and Bukit Merah areas which have a high concentration of elderly. It aims to serve 100 clients over 2 years. A network of 20 community caregivers recruited from the neighbourhood provide the following services:
- ensuring medicine is taken correctly and on time
- measure blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, weight as needed
- assist with medical and therapy appointments
- befriend and link elders to appropriate services required
The community caregivers are supervised by trained registered nurses and case managers at neighbourhood Senior Activity Centres. If the pilot programme is successful, AIC plans to expand the network of community caregivers to more districts.