Indeed, the enormous surge of demand for senior housing grows closer each year. But then as 2023 gets underway, senior care providers get far more intent than ever to appeal to the forthcoming elderly generation, yet they are struggling to figure out how to adapt their services as required.
Economic instability and uncertainty, including rigid labour conditions, escalating interest rates, and exceptionally rising inflation, are to blame for the challenge. Financing new development initiatives are challenging, hiring and employee retention are still significant issues, and engaging in operational development is daunting, arduous but extremely important. Conjointly, senior living facilities are continuously exploring ways to evolve.
Nevertheless, in an effort to expand the housing alternatives for seniors who want to age independently, the silver demographic in Singapore is looking into additional initiatives in assisted living for the coming year and ahead.
The senior living sector is likely to face several of the same operational risks as in 2022 as we approach the end of the year and move into 2023, notably labour availability and affordability, rising operating costs, and hyperinflation.
Although care providers have seen little improvement in rent and occupancy rates, many areas continue to struggle with unfavorable census numbers. The fact of the matter is that the potential market will persist and the statistics are on our side. The senior housing sector has benefited from many innovative methods of management, marketing, advertising, and service delivery.
That said, a remarkable trend in low-acuity senior living will be determined by the expansion of rental independent living communities, the development of new healthcare models based on demographic health, and the enormous need to service the middle market.
Although the trend of renting senior living communities has been growing for a while, the market has just reached a new and noticeable degree of maturity. Maintaining the attention on the essentials and articulating the market presence clearly—including a representation of the lifestyle, facilities, and perks of this living situation—will be necessary for future growth and success.
The demand for more elderly care alternatives, primarily those with a greater range of services, is growing as more Singaporeans reach the age of 65. As they grow older, the majority of these persons who are currently living independently will require the assistance of relatives or caregivers. Nursing homes could be a possibility if they require additional medical care or assistance with basic necessities. Most Singaporeans, however, choose to age in place or live in their homes when they grow older.
Home care assistance nowadays is accessible in the state, but they are scarce, for residents who are capable of living in their own homes but require some assistance. And taking into account the fact that Singapore has been rapidly expanding its nursing home population, a highly regarded retirement choice in recent years, nonetheless, has been HDB flats integrated care and support.
Having said that, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) has introduced a new design for Community Care Apartments which provide HDB flats on shorter leases that include a basic care service package that may be supplemented, when necessary, for additional fees. The program combines accommodation and caregiving, making it a ground-breaking governmental innovation by Singaporean standards. However, they are challenging to keep expanding since it takes a substantial amount of time to construct additional apartments. It can be more scaleable, though, to convert pre-existing HDB and private residences into assisted living apartments.
The pilot Community Care Apartments, which have been established by the Ministry of National Development (MND), Ministry of Health (MOH), and Housing & Development Board (HDB), in collaboration in 2021, were housed at Bukit Batok West Avenue 9 and provided elderly folks aged 65 and up a low-income housing alternative that incorporated senior-friendly features with quality healthcare services that could be adapted as per the patient's care needs.
The elderly residents can live a decent, independent life in Bukit Batok's CCAs while preparing for their long-term care needs. Every 32 square meter apartment has senior-friendly amenities to make it easier for residents to walk around their apartments, handrails and wheelchair-accessible restrooms with slip-resistant flooring are placed in the apartments. Also, a built-in closet, cabinets, and a fully equipped kitchen are other amenities that make it easy for older adults to move in and require little in the way of upgrades. Additionally, each floor has community areas where residents can interact and develop social networks.
The residents can also enroll in and pay for a Basic Service Package, which includes amenities like round-the-clock emergency monitoring and assistance, as well as programs designed to encourage socialization and the development of a tight-knit community among elderly residents. Also, an on-site community manager also aids in connecting residents with pertinent care services based on their specific needs, assists with basic home repairs, and plans community events in accordance with the seniors' wishes.
In the Bukit Batok pilot, there have been more than 4 candidates competing for each apartment since the launch, and as of now, 154 of the 169 apartments that were provided have been reserved upon its sale in February 2021. You may read in more detail on what they provide here.
The forthcoming Health District in Queenstown will house the second pilot of this program. Essentially, a built environment that encourages a balanced living and active and safe ageing will be developed in the area with the help of HDB, the National University of Singapore, healthcare partner organisations, and grassroots movements.
The development will include a variety of flat types in addition to around 200 Community Care Apartments. Also, every floor will have communal areas that the elderly residents may utilize as an extension of their personal living rooms to communicate with one another, share meals, or take part in activities planned by the community manager. This comes in addition to other shared amenities that promote socialization among residents, like roof gardens, exercise equipment, and community living spaces.
In conjunction with these flat types, the initiative will also include the most recent addition to the range of senior housing alternatives, the public tender for the Parry Avenue property. The project will have a community park that is situated within the Rosyth estate, with at least 100 nursing home beds that must be maintained on the property by the private facility's administrator. These include, among other things, common areas and social programs for the residents as well as senior citizens with high nursing demands or those who have been diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and therefore need complex care.
For those who want a more detailed guide on assisted living options in HDB, you can refer to official government materials.
Further senior housing alternatives that extend beyond conventional labor-intensive, medicalized, and institutionalized nursing facilities are required in light of the increasing aging of Singapore's demographic.
As part of this initiative, Red Crowns provides co-living for the elderly in HDB apartments or exclusive condominiums. Conforming to the co-living idea, companies acquire or rent properties and renovate them to provide separate living units in a building that also includes common services like a kitchen, laundry room, workspaces, or dining areas. In a way, co-living for elderly folk will essentially provide comparable housing alternatives along with elderly care services.
Dependably, Red Crowns is distinguished for managing the caregiving workforce, who also are foreign domestic workers (FDWs), and for handling property maintenance. Additionally, Red Crowns' social business approach can assist senior citizens age in place and prevent them from turning to skilled nursing care facilities while they do not however require that degree of care. Private sector providers are leading the way in assisted living in Singapore such as these, which can provide 24-hour caregiver services to senior living homes.
There are currently roughly 130 residents living in 25 units, plus HDB flats, at the Red Crowns startup, regardless of minimal recognition. Nevertheless, Red Crowns is seeking estate partners who would want to rent out their empty properties as well as senior citizens who will reside in the co-living apartments and split the expense of providing care.
In fact, a majority of elderly Singaporeans have expressed that they would like to retire with help from family caregivers within their own homes or in HDB communities. Most of them may come across the solution to their dreams of a safe, long-term retirement home in HDB assisted living facilities. That said, e expect far more progress toward value-based care in 2023, along with a reformation of how to work on improving and optimizing the senior living and care industry in the years to come.