I happened to watch this programme hosted by Cheryl Fox on 20 Dec. It was about the housing scheme for the old and lonely. We have this scheme where the oldies are allowed to rent HDB flats at a concession rate of something like $26 pm where two oldies could share a one room flat. They could find their own flat mates or the HDB could fix them up if they could not find one.
$26 monthly rental each is a steal. How to find such low rental when every flat costs several hundred thousand bucks? Even people on public assistance would be able to afford to pay $26 as they get something like $400 pm from the govt.
The programme Get Real, showed a few of the tenants and how they live their lives sharing the flat with strangers. There was a 65 year old guy living with a granny who is more than 90. And there is this guy in his 60s or 70s living with another guy who is much older and have all kinds of oldies problems, unable to control his urine, difficulties in moving, and this guy took upon himself to look after him, feed him, wash him and clean up the mess he is creating, without getting paid a single cent.
The other guy who is with the granny, he just tolerates. The granny is in a world of her own, with poor personal hygiene and her room smells. What to do, there is nothing that the guy could do. He just lives with it.
The two guys were extreme examples of tolerance and compassion. They understand. They know the other parties needed help but were helpless.
I wonder how many of such folks are living on their own in such conditions? Okay, please don’t be patronizing by saying they are losers and deserve to be where they are. With the high cost of living, many will fall into this category in a matter of time, no money, can’t work, weak and feeble, economically useless, and no one to look after them.
The children, if they have, would have serious problem looking after them as well. Our social economic structure is designed to have both average Sinkie parents working. Where are they going to find the time looking after their old folks? And there are also space constraints in the little flats. Where to put the oldies when they have growing up children? Average sinkies don’t live in big 20,000 sq ft bungalows.
So how, put them in old folks homes? You think it is so cheap, so affordable? Many would cost them both their incomes. So how? How much does it cost to upkeep one such loser that is completely dependent on others to help them to live longer?
I think the pension of a minister could take care of at least 1,000 such folks. It definitely would not bankrupt the country to take on this function for sure. It is a case of value. Who shall take care of them and if the rightful caretaker can’t as they too are in dire straits, who else?
Some say depends on Charity Shows and the public for more donations. Some say the President can help to raise funds. Yes, depends on the public and their money to support these people who are blessed with long lives. Is the money in our national reserves not public money?
Where is the dignity to grow old? Shit, people in such state better don’t ask for dignity. It is between a one room flat, a nursing home or the road side. What do they expect?