DPM Lawrence Wong visits Yio Chu Kang SMC, to be first fully dementia-friendly estate in S'pore

Wong's visit also marks the resumption of ministerial community visits by the 4G ministers.

Matthias Ang | Andrew Koay | Tan Min-Wei | October 30, 2022, 12:18 PM

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Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong visited Yio Chu Kang Single Member Constituency (SMC) on the morning of Oct. 30, as part of the resumption of ministerial community visits.

Wong was hosted by Yip Hon Weng, the Member of Parliament for Yio Chu Kang SMC, as well as the adviser to Yio Chu Kang Grassroots Organisations.

Whole of Yio Chu Kang to be made dementia-friendly

According to a press release by the Yio Chu Kang Constituency Office, Yio Chu Kang will be the first in Singapore to fully incorporate dementia-friendly features in the entire constituency.

The office said that it will "deepen its efforts" to create a dementia-inclusive living environment through infrastructure improvement under Neighbourhood Renewal Programmes (NRP) and Repair and Redecoration (R&R) Works throughout the constituency.

This includes deliberate selection in wayfinding, colour zoning of HDB blocks and directional signages.

The following initiatives will be launched:

  • To aid in wayfinding, murals have been painted or pasted as A1-sized posters onto the walls of seven void decks around Yio Chu Kang. These artworks are created by students of Anderson-Serangoon Junior College under the guidance of a professional mural artist. Each mural will also have a QR code containing activities and lifestyle tips for residents.

Murals painted at Yio Chu Kang to help wayfinding Image by Tan Min-Wei

Murals painted at Yio Chu Kang to help wayfinding Image by Tan Min-Wei

  • Establishing a new facility at Block 609, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, in collaboration with the Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA), to pilot an Assisted Living service for seniors living in purchased flats.

    • The facility will include a retrofit space integrated with assistive technology, a tele-consultation room built in collaboration with Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and an activity room fitted with a fall detection system that will be monitored by staff and trained volunteers.

  • Installing a Personal Alert Button (PAB) in rental flats, in collaboration with Changi General Hospital, CareLine, GovTech, Silver Generation Office (SGO) and Thye Hua Kwan (THK).

    • This scheme will begin with a pilot supporting 80 seniors at Blocks 626 and 641 in Ang Mo Kio Ave 4.

The press release added that the drive for making the entire constituency dementia-friendly is part of the office's focus on the Forward Singapore Care Pillar, which seeks to provide health and social support to Singaporeans.

Speaking to reporters, Wong said that there was potential for these projects to be scaled up and implemented in other estates.

During his visit, Wong helped paint murals and handed out food together with volunteers from Yio Chu Kang Food Rescue—a ground-up initiative seeking to reduce food wastage and encourage residents to embrace the consumption of "ugly" yet edible food.

Lawrence Wong handing out 'ugly' but edible food. Image by Tan Min-Wei

Lawrence Wong painting a mural Image by Tan Min-Wei

Yip added that about 40 per cent of residents in Yio Chu Kang were 65 years or older.

"So mature estate [with] many seniors here, we need to make sure that the infrastructure along with the services here are catered to them," he said.

Resumption of ministerial community visits

Wong's visit to Yio Chu Kang marks the resumption of ministerial community visits.

Such visits will be carried out once every two weeks on weekends (excluding December), involving the 4G ministers.

The Deputy Prime Minister said these ministerial community visits would help bring his Forward Singapore exercise "to the ground".

"Which means that we will do more to engage residents where they are, get their views and feedback on a range of policy issues that they care deeply about, so that will better inform us in our own policy reviews as part of our Forward Singapore exercise."

The 4G ministers aim to visit most constituencies helmed by first-term grassroots advisors by September 2023.

Mothership understands that that the visits will also cover opposition wards at some point in the future.

During these visits, the 4G ministers will speak and engage community partners, grassroots organisations and residents to understand issues on the ground as well as the programmes and initiatives implemented in the divisions.

"We want to better understand and identify the many innovative projects that are taking place within the community—like you see here in Yio Chu Kang [...]," said Wong.

Ministerial community visits have been carried out for over 30 years but were stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Top image by Tan Min-Wei