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Friday, Aug 1, 2014

Singapore

Elder-friendly home fittings for 100,000 more households, with lower age limit

The Straits Times | Friday, Aug 1, 2014

SINGAPORE - A Housing Board programme to install elder-friendly fittings such as grab bars will now be available to 100,000 more households due to lower age criteria, and will offer improvements to not just one, but two bathrooms.


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Here is the statement from the Housing & Development Board:

The Ease programme was launched in July 2012 to enhance the safety and comfort of seniors living in HDB flats. Under Ease, home owners can choose a range of elderly-friendly fittings to help elderly family members move around in their flats with ease.

These fittings include slip-resistant treatment to the floor tiles of one existing bathroom/toilet, and grab bars and ramps (where technically feasible). In response to feedback from grassroots leaders and residents, HDB has reviewed the age criterion for direct application and coverage of the improvement items.

From August 1, 2014, HDB will be expanding the Ease programme by:

- Lowering the age criterion for Ease (Direct Application): Singapore Citizen households with an elderly family member who is 65 years old and above (lowered from 70 years old), or aged between 60 and 64 years old (lowered from between 65 and 69 years old) and requires assistance for at least one of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL), will be eligible for EASE (Direct Application);

- Extending the improvement items to the second toilet: For households with two toilets, the provision of slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles and grab bars will be offered to the second toilet.

About 100,000 more households with elderly will now stand to benefit from Ease.

Highly subsidised by the Government

Similar to other upgrading programmes, Ease is highly subsidised by the Government, with the residents paying a small portion of the cost. If residents opt for the full expanded scope of improvement works, the total cost of the Ease package would be $2,500 per flat (an increase from the previous $2,000).

The Government will continue to provide a subsidy of up to 95 per cent of the cost, and Singapore Citizen households only need to pay between $125 and $312.50, depending on their flat type.

Residents will continue to have the flexibility to choose any combination of the types of improvements that best meets their needs, and pay only for the selected improvement items.

Who qualifies for the expanded Ease

The expanded Ease programme will be available to residents through the following ways:

(i) Home Improvement Programme (HIP) with Ease

- For all future HIP projects polled from August 1, 2014;

- For ongoing HIP projects that have not completed works as of August 1, 2014;

- For completed HIP projects where installation works have been completed prior to August 1, 2014, the flat owners can apply for the extension of the improvement items to the second toilet through Ease (Direct Application), if they meet the revised age criterion.

(ii) Direct Application for Ease

- Those who have applied for Ease (Direct Application) and installation works have not been carried out as of August 1, 2014, will be eligible for the package under the expanded Ease programme;

- For cases where installation works had already been completed prior to August 1, 2014, the flat owners can apply for the extension of the improvement items to the second toilet.

Residents may apply for additional improvement items through Ease (Direct Application) via e-Services on the HDB InfoWEB at http://www.hdb.gov.sg from August 1, 2014.

Alternatively, residents may download an application form on the HDB InfoWEB at www.hdb.gov.sg/EASE-Application, or obtain an application form at any of the HDB Branches. After filling in the application form, they may submit it at the HDB Branch managing their estate or mail it to the HDB Branch. For residents with ongoing HIP with Ease, HDB will inform them separately on how they can apply for the additional improvement items.

For more information on the programme, the public may also visit the HDB InfoWEB or call EASE toll-free hotline at 1800-9332990 from 8am to 5pm on weekdays (excluding Public Holidays).

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