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Home modification for elderly in Singapore: Why and how to do it

How home improvement can help seniors enjoy a better quality of life

It is no surprise that we treat seniors differently because as they age, they become more vulnerable. Developing certain health conditions would do that to you. Having issues like joint pains, immobility, and even memory impairments make aging adults incapable of living a good quality of life. Sometimes, it's even hard to let them live on their own because their safety is not guaranteed, especially without having someone to watch over them 24/7.

So, how can we ensure that our loved one can live safely in their homes?

This is where home modifications come in.

 

What are home modifications?

Home modification is the installation of safety fittings and features in one's house to reduce the risk of accidents, falling, and injuries. An occupational therapist can help with this process by assessing your home, identifying potential safety hazards, and recommending improvements that will help enhance the living environment for the resident. This will allow your elderly loved one to move around better.

 

Types of home modifications for the elderly

Home improvement can vary, depending on the level of need your elderly loved one has. The improvement can range from simple adjustments and lifestyle changes to more complicated ones like the addition of fittings or senior-friendly features.

Here are the types of modifications that can be done to an elderly person's home:

Simple adjustments

  • Addition of grab bars
  • Use of slip-resistant mats or the application of non-slip treatments on floors of wet and slippery areas (e.g. bathroom and toilet)
  • Removal of rugs and wires on the floor (to prevent falls)
  • Transferring switches to an accessible level (especially for those who are wheelchair-bound)
  • Illuminating steps and stairs with the use of fluorescent tape to give residents better visibility at night
  • Moving the care recipient to the ground floor (if it's a multi-story house)

 

Complicated modifications

  • Widening doorways to provide easy access into rooms (especially for those who are wheelchair-bound)
  • Installation of ramps
  • Removal of walls

 

Home modification under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE programme) by the HDB

To help with home improvements, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) introduced the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE), which is a package under their Home Improvement Programme (HIP). This aims to help elderly residents install features and fittings in their homes to increase their safety and comfort through subsidies.

Benefits of the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) by the HDB

Thanks to the EASE package, seniors no longer need to worry about sourcing workmen to do the changes or install the additional safety features in their homes. They also don't need to worry about the costs because of the subsidies provided. All they have to do is to wait and see how the changes will improve their daily living.

Here are the possible inclusions of the EASE package:

  • Slip-resistant treatment to existing floor tiles of up to 2 bathrooms and toilets
  • Grab bars offered in a set of 8 or 10 for the first toilet and within the flat (first set), and 6 grab bars for the second toilet (second set)
  • Up to 5 ramps within the flat and/or at the main entrance (single-step, portable, or customized ramps)

 

Who is   eligible for the EASE programme of the HDB?

Citizens in Singapore who own flats can apply for the EASE package if a member of their household is:

  • 65 years old and above
  • Aged between 60 to 64 years old and requires assistance for one or more activities of daily living (ADLs) which include bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, transferring, and mobility. A doctor's endorsement is needed to be submitted along with your application

 

How much does home improvement cost under the EASE programme of the HDB?

The estimated total cost of the home modification for elderly Singapore is around $3,840. However, thanks to the subsidy by the HDB, the residents will only be required to pay the following amounts:

Full EASE package with single-step ramps

 

Type of flat

1-/2-/3-room

4-room

5-room

Executive

Household pays

  • $125 (5%)
  • $187.50 (7.5%)
  • $250 (10%)
  • $312.50 (12.5%)

Government pays

  • $2,375 (95%)
  • $2,312.50 (92.5%)
  • $2,250 (90%)
  • $2,187.50 (87.5%)

 

Full EASE package with a portable ramp

 

Type of flat

1-/2-/3-room

4-room

5-room

Executive

Household pays

  • $147 (5%)
  • $220.50 (7.5%)
  • $294 (10%)
  • $367.50 (12.5%)

Government pays

  • $2,793 (95%)
  • $2,719.50 (92.5%)
  • $2,464 (90%)
  • $2,572.50 (87.5%)

 

Full EASE package with customized ramps

 

Type of flat

1-/2-/3-room

4-room

5-room

Executive

Household pays

  • $192 (5%)
  • $288 (7.5%)
  • $384 (10%)
  • $480 (12.5%)

Government pays

  • $3,648 (95%)
  • $3,552 (92.5%)
  • $3,456 (90%)
  • $3,360 (87.5%)



How much will home modifications in Singapore cost without the full package?

If you choose not to avail of the full package provided by the EASE programme, you are more than welcome to select the improvements you want to be installed.

Check out the rates for each type of installation below:

 

Items

1-/2-/3-room

4-room

5-room

Executive

  • Slip-resistant treatment to existing floor tiles of one (and up to 2) bathroom/toilet
  • $11 (5%)
  • $16.50 (7.5%)
  • $22 (10.%)
  • $27.50 (12.5%)
  • Installation of 1st set of grab bars
  • $24 (5%)
  • $36 (7.5%)
  • $48 (10.%)
  • $60 (12.5%)
  • Installation of 2nd set of grab bars
  • $14 (5%)
  • $21 (7.5%)
  • $28 (10.%)
  • $35 (12.5%)
  • Single-step ramp (per ramp)
  • $13 (5%)
  • $19.50 (7.5%)
  • $26 (10.%)
  • $32.50 (12.5%)
  • Portable ramp
  • $35 (5%)
  • $52.50 (7.5%)
  • $70 (10.%)
  • $87.50 (12.5%)
  • Customized ramp
  • $80 (5%)
  • $120 (7.5%)
  • $160 (10.%)
  • $200 (12.5%)



How to apply for EASE package

There are simply 4 methods that you can follow to apply for the EASE:

Method 1

If your flat or block of flats are currently undergoing HDB's Home Improvement Programme (HIP), you can apply for LEASE through this programme. Keep in mind that in this case, the residents are not required to meet the age criteria to become eligible for the installing of senior-friendly devices and facilities.

Method 2

You can apply for the package online via this portal.

Method 3

If you can't go on your computer, you may apply for the EASE using your mobile phone (Android/IOS) through mobile HDB.

Method 4

Go to the EASE (Direct Application) webpage, then download and accomplish the forms provided. You will be needing a doctor's endorsement for this (use an E-care locator).

 

What are additional benefits for the senior community in Singapore?

If your elderly loved one or their family is in need of financial support, you may seek help from financial assistance schemes provided by the government. In this case, the Seniors Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF) is a viable option to turn to. This was established by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to provide financial assistance and support to seniors to help them live in the community independently.

 

In any case if "senior-proofing" the homes of your elderly family members isn't enough to increase their quality of life, you may consider other forms of senior care services—like Assisted Living services, for example. Here, the elderly can enjoy a wider range of benefits that they won't get from in-home care such as:

  • 24/7 monitoring by nurses
  • Around-the-clock nursing care
  • House call doctors
  • Professional caregivers
  • Assistance with ADLs
  • Social and recreational activities and programs
  • Safe and secure facilities

Get in touch with us.

Learn more about Red Crowns. You may contact us for more information about our services and locations, get a quote or to schedule a tour.
+65 9800 5297
[email protected]
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