It is predicted that by the year 2030, 25% of Singapore's population consists of people aged 65 and up. In line with the growth of the aging population, Singapore continues to make efforts in improving the quality of life of seniors. Among these is providing more public housing options such as flats and community care apartments where seniors can spend their retirement years more comfortably and securely. These housing options aren't just meant to shelter them but they also come with basic service packages and senior-friendly fittings that will help them in their daily living.
The Housing & Development Board or HDB is a statutory board in Singapore that oversees the development of public housing in Singapore. With the increasing need to provide the right care and support for the senior community, the HDB teamed up with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Development to develop assisted living flats dedicated to seniors.
The HDB paved the way for various types of housing that are suitable for seniors or those entering their retirement years. This is to give a chance for the elderly to live happily, comfortably, and safely inside a home
HDB formulated housing schemes that will cater to the varying needs and financial capabilities of each senior citizen:
This is for seniors who come from a lower household income, no longer have other housing options, or have no family members to support them financially. They can rent out a public HDB flat through the Public Rental Scheme. If not, they can rent a private property from existing flat owners in the open market. But when it comes to renting from flat owners, the regulations, tenancy matters, and rental fees should be carefully taken note of. HDB also offers temporary housing for seniors who are waiting for the completion of their new flats.
HDB gives priority to seniors who want to apply for a unit that's near their current place of residence. Flats are being set aside and allocated for the elderly through the Senior Priority Scheme.
Seniors who would like to purchase a new flat can buy a two-room Flexi flat on a shorter lease. Here are the following factors to remember in this flat lease:
This is a type of housing option that comes with a basic service package. With this option, seniors can age in place and do their daily activities safely and comfortably. It is simply a form of housing with assisted living to provide permanent assistance and support to seniors.
Here are other important details:
This is the first housing development of the HDB under the Assisted Living concept. Here, seniors purchase an HDB flat with a basic service package that includes proper care and assistance with activities of daily living.
In line with the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) program, the community care apartments and other types of studio apartments for seniors can be installed with senior-friendly features. This is to ensure the safety and comfort of the elderly residents as they go through their day-to-day activities.
The features include (but are not limited to) the following:
The rates for an HDB flat or community care apartment may range between $40,000 for a 15-year lease to $65,000 for a 35-year lease. These are required to be paid fully with cash or with funds from the senior's Central Provident Fund (CPF).
There are also subsidised flats for seniors who come from low-income households or those who no longer have families to care for or financially support them.
The HDB New Flat Typology is meant to improve the quality of life of aging Singapore citizens. Other than providing modern flats and other public housing options, there are also care services meant to enhance their way of living. This is quite similar to assisted living Singapore which is a well-recognized nursing home alternative. However, assisted living facilities typically have a more extensive form of services and amenities for their elderly residents compared to HDB flats or to what the feature of community care apartments comprises.
Here are the services and amenities provided by an assisted living facility like Red Crowns:
Other than assisted living, many other types of old folks' home Singapore can provide both housing and care services for the elderly.
Seniors are also allowed to monetize their owned or purchased flats. They can unlock their home's value if they decide to move out of their current flat.
Here are the monetization options under the Housing and Development Board:
Flat owners can rent out their whole place as long as they and their tenants will abide by the rules and regulations that come with it. They can also rent out a room if they're currently residing in the said flat.
Here are the eligibility conditions of the renting out scheme:
2. Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS)
For seniors who want to remain in their existing flat, they can monetize their property through the Lease Buyback Scheme. This allows seniors to unlock the value of their property and receive cash while still living in it. The flat owner will be selling the remaining lease (which they will unlikely need) to HDB.
The household will first determine the length of the lease to retain which will be based on the youngest owner's age. This will tell you how much of the net proceeds you will be able to unlock. Once you sell the remaining lease of your flat to HDB, you will be getting a cash payment upfront depending on the size of the flat. The net proceeds will then be used to top-up the CPF Retirement Account.
Here are the eligibility conditions of the Lease Buyback Scheme:
This scheme enables elderly flat owners to supplement their retirement income if they're selling their current flat or private property with an annual value of not more than $13,000. This is for seniors who desire to move out of their current flat and purchase a 3-room flat or smaller.
Here are the eligibility conditions of the Silver Housing Bonus:
It's no surprise that not all members of the senior community have the luxury or privilege to afford proper housing and care. Fortunately, there are plenty of benefits for seniors in Singapore that are being provided by the government branches, private nursing homes, and nursing home alternatives. This is to enable seniors to have access to a comfortable, secure, and healthy way of living.