SINGAPORE – A new assisted living facility for seniors, including those with dementia, was launched in Kebun Baru in Ang Mo Kio on Saturday (March 5) as part of a pilot programme aimed at helping them age in place in their community.

Called the Integrated Dementia (Home-based) Assisted Living, or IDeAL@115, the project is a partnership between Kebun Baru Grassroots Organisations and social service agency Dementia Singapore.

The facility was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry, adviser to Kebun Baru Grassroots Organisations.

Located across four units on the second level of Block 115 in Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, a block of rental flats, the project seeks to help vulnerable and frail seniors, including those with dementia, through coordinated support and monitoring.

The programme, which is free, currently caters to 40 residents of the block.

The IDeAL@115 space features an administrative office, a telehealth room, an activity room and a kitchen, and is run by a team of full-time staff, as well as part-time staff and volunteers.

It is equipped to be inclusive to both elderly residents and those with dementia.

For instance, the office uses assistive technology such as tracking devices, fall detection devices and remote monitoring so that seniors can live with dignity and autonomy within a familiar, safe and secure environment.

The telehealth room, built in collaboration with Tan Tock Seng Hospital, is where residents can have teleconsultation sessions with general practitioners, polyclinics, counsellors, occupational therapists or other service providers.

In the activity room, small-group cognitive activities are conducted according to the seniors’ interests, via tools such as iPad games, board games, reminiscence therapy and gardening.

The kitchen provides a daily lunch of either a fully cooked meal, or raw ingredients for a meal, to households in the block that are deemed to be lacking in nutrition.

Seniors who are physically capable are also encouraged to collect their meals personally so that they can get some physical activity, as well as interact with fellow residents and staff.

Additionally, the kitchen has a shared laundry area for seniors who need help with heavy washing and the hanging of their laundry.

One of the residents in the block, and beneficiaries of the programme, Mr Tan Kim Chiaw, 79, said that the programme has helped him a lot.

“My lunch is covered by the central kitchen and I am really appreciative of that because it helps me save some money. I am thankful for IDeAL as it has helped me and my community,” said Mr Tan.

The results of a survey conducted by the Housing Board in February last year showed that more elderly residents in Singapore prefer to age in place.

The survey found that more than four in 10 were willing to live in assisted living facilities should there be a need to, so that they can have access to professional medical and nursing care.

“The IDeAL@115 pilot aims to maximise the seniors’ potential to live in the community, age in place and lead independent lives for as long as possible with person-centred care support, delaying the time that the seniors will need to be placed in a long-term care facility,” said Dementia Singapore.

There are plans to expand the pilot to more seniors in Ang Mo Kio in time to come.

“We hope that IDeAL@115 will serve as a model of care that can be replicated in neighbourhoods across Singapore to empower the growing silver population to age comfortably in place,” said Dementia Singapore chief executive Jason Foo.

PM Lee toured the IDeAL@115 facilities and interacted with residents.

He also distributed soup to them, and put the finishing touches on a mural in the void deck of Block 115.