More seniors to benefit from functional screening

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) is partnering Temasek Foundation (TF) Cares and the business community to bring functional screening to senior citizens over the age of 60. This is in support of MOH’s efforts under the SG Cares movement, to help seniors stay healthy and age well in place.

Project Silver Screen

Project Silver Screen supports basic functional screening for hearing, eyesight and oral health at subsidised rates for all citizens above 60 years old over the next few years. It is free for Pioneer Generation citizens, S$2 for CHAS card holders, and S$5 for others.

Project Silver Screen vouchers of between S$15 and S$200 will also be given to those who require aids such as spectacles, hearing aids and dentures. This is to further reduce the out of pocket costs for our senior citizens, over and above existing government subsidies, regardless of household income.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) will roll out this Silver Screen programme at various convenient and accessible community nodes across the nation. These include Community Centres/Clubs, Senior Activity Centres, Residents’ Committee Centres and faith-based organisations.

Depending on the results of the basic functional screening, seniors may be referred to the relevant community or medical centres for further tests, such as for cataracts or glaucoma.

Background on functioning screening for senior citizens

Functional screening helps to identify age-related decline in vision, hearing and oral health. Early identification and intervention helps seniors to age well in place and enhance their quality of life. For instance, a study by the John Hopkins University shows that older adults with mild hearing loss are three times more prone to having a history of falling.

Through the Community Networks for Seniors, MOH has been actively encouraging seniors to attend functional screening. People’s Association (PA) and the Silver Generation Office in the Agency for Integrated Care have provided active support in close co-operation with MOH and HPB.

Since January 2018, PA and Silver Generation Ambassadors have helped over 23,000 seniors to register and attend functional screening under a pilot programme for Project Silver Screen. This is almost a five-fold increase compared to the previous year.

The pilot phase has provided early insights on the functional needs of senior citizens, to help HPB better prepare for the next phase of rolling out functional screening nationwide for the rest of the senior community in Singapore:

Many senior citizens were unaware that they had issues with their vision, hearing and oral health before attending functional screening. Of those who had attended functional screening, about 1 in 2 seniors had some issue with their vision, and about 1 in 3 were assessed to have dental issues. In addition, 7 in 10 seniors were found to have some form of hearing loss. Of these, about 4 in 10 were under the impression that they had good hearing.

Partnerships with local neighbourhood community are critical to close the last-mile service delivery and bring functional screening closer to seniors. MOH had worked closely with HPB and healthcare clusters to persuade seniors who require further follow-up tests to make an appointment on the spot. Reminder calls closer to their follow-up appointments also helped these seniors to follow through and receive the care required. For seniors with mobility issues, we may tap on the Silver Generation Ambassadors to accompany them to their functional screening sessions.

Partnership between MOH, TF Cares and the business community

Project Silver Screen is the first partnership between the MOH, TF Cares and the business community to support our seniors above age 60, to actively manage their health and well-being in order to enjoy better quality of life in their silver years.

Temasek and 11 corporate donors have contributed S$35 million, which will be managed by TF Cares, to help lower the cost of functional screening and functional aids for our senior citizens, regardless of their household income. Annex A lists the corporate donors and partner organisations for Project Silver Screen.

Project Silver Screen is open to further contributions from individuals, businesses and the government to support our seniors to age-in-place.

Members of the public may visit the Project Silver Screen website at www.projectsilverscreen.sg for the latest functional screening schedule, or call the Singapore Silver Line at 1800 650 6060 for more information.

The above is a press release from the Ministry of Health