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National eldercare helpline launched for senior citizens, caregivers

VIMITA MOHANDAS on 10 Sep 2014

Channel News Asia


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Senior citizens and their caregivers can now turn to a one-stop national eldercare helpline, called Singapore Silver Line, to find out more about care services, and the status of their applications to schemes and financial assistance.


In a media release on Wednesday (Sep 10), the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said the toll-free helpline, 1800-650-6060, started operations in July and has served close to 9,700 callers. It is expected to reach out to more than 100,000 callers during its first year of operation.


The helpline operates from 8.30am to 8.30pm from Mondays to Fridays, and 8.30am to 4pm on Saturdays. Its call agents are trained to identify and recommend the appropriate care services to callers through a simple phone screening process. They are also trained to identify difficulties that the elderly or caregivers may face, and help accordingly. 


"Assistance includes providing information on respite care options for caregivers, suitable financial assistance and relevant training for caregivers and their foreign domestic workers," according to the release.


Dr Jason Cheah, CEO of AIC, said the agency has introduced multiple access channels to make eldercare information and resources easily available to seniors and their caregivers. These channels include the Singapore Silver Pages website and the AICare Hub at City Square Mall.


"Our Singapore Silver Line will complement these access channels. With its launch, we hope seniors and their caregivers will find it even more convenient to seek information on eldercare," said Dr Cheah.


The Singapore Silver Line was officially launched on Wednesday by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, at the Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) Awards ceremony. A total of 50 recipients received awards under the various ILTC training grants to upgrade their skills and knowledge. To date, more than 400 ILTC professionals have benefited from these training scholarships and grants.


Dr Khor said agents manning the helpline are able to converse in Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, as well as in dialects, to cater to seniors who are more comfortable speaking in languages, other than English.


She added: "I think what we want to do is to provide a one-stop helpline so that it is easier, more convenient for them. There are many services that they may need to access and we hope that through this, seniors and their caregivers don't have to go through multiple touch points."


Source: Channel News Asia. Reproduced with permission.

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