NTUC Eldercare takes over HSCH
After years being run by the Chinese Women’s Association, the Henderson Senior Citizens’ Home will now be part of NTUC Eldercare’s offerings.
BY: Eleanor Yap
The Henderson Senior Citizens’ Home (HSCH), which has been managed and funded by the Chinese Women’s Association (CWA) since 1978, now has a new owner. Come January 2, the home at Bukit Merah View, which provides residential and respite care for senior citizens, will come under NTUC Eldercare.
Inclusive in the handover are the May Wong Social Centre and the May Wong Lifestyle Centre, also at Bukit Merah and under CWA, which offers day care services and activities for seniors respectively. This decision comes after months of discussions and CWA deciding to hand over HSCH to NTUC Eldercare given its expertise and guidance that it could bring to the Home.
Said Betty Chen, president of CWA (seen above with Minister Lim Boon Heng and some HSCH residents), “When CWA member decided to give up Henderson Home, we felt that there was no one else better than NTUC Eldercare to succeed us. NTUC Eldercare already has five day care centres in Singapore and is planning for another three. As for CWA, we will remain as founding friends of the Home and will maintain our contact with the elderly there. This is our promise to them to continue caring for their welfare in the many years to come.”
The 83-year-old Chen who is the daughter of founder May Wong denied that CWA does not have enough resources to further run the Home but cites the need to spend more time with husband, Bill, who she has been married for 62 years, and was concerned about the succession plans for the Home. “When you reach a certain age, you want to have some time for yourself. I want to travel more and have less responsibility,” said the grandmother of four who initially did not intend to take over after her mother’s passing but instead ran HSCH for 20 years.
HSCH has 19 residents living in the lower block and has around 30 seniors in the social/day centre and 135 members from the vicinity coming to the lifestyle centre to enjoy a number of activities including workshops, cooking demonstrations and classes, and the mini gym.
Remarking on the handover, NTUC Eldercare’s general manager, Lim Sia Hoe, said, “This is a historic event for us, being the first time we are approached to take care of a residential facility. It is a fantastic opportunity to experience running a home and give our inputs to improve its facilities. We hope that we can bring added value to the day care users, especially in the areas of service delivery and capability building.”
Noted Chen: “We believe that as time progresses, with people living longer with better health remedies, there will be an increasing need for sheltered housing by single seniors not only by the disadvantaged, but also by the educated single retirees, who do not have families to fall back one. NTUC Eldercare may find themselves opening more residential sheltered housing due to the demand for this service.”
During the handover ceremony, which was held during the public seminar by CWA on “Ageing and Resilience” which marked the 25th anniversary of the May Wong Social Centre, Minister Lim Boon Heng of the Prime Minister’s Office, touched on the “Active Service Model”. “If the service model is one of care, then the client follows a programme that is determined by the service provider and the client has little choice. The elderly falls into the mode of being cared for, rather than the mode of living his own life in the way he wants to. The Active Service Model, on the other hand, respects the elderly and maintains self-esteem. This is the approach we should take, to enable the elderly to live independently as long as they can.” NTUC Eldercare’s Lim reiterated that their philosophy follows this model and they will look into some of the elderly who are in the Home to see if they may be able to live in their own homes instead.
As a result of the handover, CWA will transfer $250,000 to NTUC Eldercare and will continue to disburse subsidies to existing residents of HSCH. Chen will remain as the patron of HSCH and some of the management will continue to work at the Home under NTUC Eldercare. According to NTUC Eldercare, who runs its day centres under the name Silver Circle, HSCH will not have a name change.
(PHOTOS BY: Ace Kindred Cheong)