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The Singapore Democrats support the Government’s proposals to build an eldercare centre in Woodlands and a block of flats for the aged at Toh Yi. This is because as our population ages, more and more elderly people will be in need of care and that care will need to come from the communities where they reside.
As most of the younger generation of Singaporeans are busy with their work and are unable to provide the necessary care for their elderly parents, care centres for the older generation are crucial.
Not only are such centres important but their location in housing estates close to their families are necessary as well. Familiarity of one’s neighbourhood and closeness to one’s family are factors that help to give the elderly a sense of ease and comfort.
Care of our elderly and the infirm by the community was indeed one of the key points of the SDP’s campaign platform during GE 2011. Our emphasis on cultivating a compassionate society includes the looking after of the older generation of Singaporeans.
At the same time, however, valid concerns of the residents must also be heard. Among these are the exact location for the void deck healthcare/eldercare centers. The locations should be decided through genuine consultation with the citizens rather than the usual top-down approach of the Government. We urge the authorities to take into consideration the views of the residents and find a position that is agreeable to all parties.
The PAP must bear responsibility for the curent unhappiness voiced by residents who are affected by the building plans. Over the decades the Government has instilled in the population that their HDB flats are investments to be bought and sold for huge profits rather than homes that we live in with our loved ones.
Singapore needs to move away from the emphasis on materialism and the PAP needs to stop driving society to equating happiness with wealth. We need to re-connect with our roots and realise that looking after elderly Singaporeans is the right and proud thing to do.
In the meantime, we need to reform our healthcare system to address the changing needs of our population. The SDP is confident that when responsive, affordable healthcare services are associated with void deck eldercare centers as we proposed (and will further outline in our National Healhcare Plan which will be unveiled soon), residents will welcome these facilities and there will be a demand for them.
As our society matures, we need to take care of our parents and grandparents and to do this effectively and compassionately we need all Singaporeans to do their part to help build a better Singapore for all of us.
The elderly generation have done their part to bring about the Singapore that we have today and we have the obligation to provide the best for them during their twilight years. To this end, we support the Government’s plans to build care centres for the elderly in our housing estates and we hope that Singaporeans will also embrace such a move.