Elderly show preference to age-in-place

About 81 percent of elderly wanted to age in their existing flats.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) conducts the Sample Household Survey (SHS) once every five years to gather feedback and identify emerging trends in public housing. In its latest survey, where close to 8,000 households in all HDB towns/estates were interviewed between January and August 2013, the findings found:

• The proportion of elderly residents (aged 65 years and above) had doubled since 1987 from 5.4 percent to 11.0 percent in 2013. Those aged 65 to 74 years made up the majority of the elderly at 7.3 percent, while 2.9 percent were aged 75 to 84 years and 0.8 percent were aged 85 years and above.

• Every elderly resident aged 65 years or older was supported by 5.9 persons in the working-age band of 20 to 64 years, a decline from 6.6 persons in 2008.

• The elderly showed a strong preference to age-in-place. About 85 percent of elderly households had no intention to move within the next five years, while the proportion of the elderly who intended to move declined from 7.3 percent in 2008 to 4.2 percent in 2013.

About 81 percent also wanted to age in their existing flat. They mainly felt that the present flat was comfortable, had an emotional attachment to it, or wanted their children to inherit the flat.

• The percentage of younger married couples who was living with or in close proximity to their parents increased slightly from 35.5 percent in 2008 to 36.7 percent in 2013. The proportion of older residents living with their married children had also increased, from some 14.3 percent in 2008 to 19.1 percent in 2013. This is in line with older residents’ preference to live near their married children, according to HDB.

A chart from the blog of the National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

• The frequency of visits between children and parents remained consistently high over the years. Some 90.3 percent of younger married residents and their parents visited each other at least once a month while 88.6 percent of older residents indicated that they received visits or visited their married children at least once a month.

The frequency of visits between children and parents was higher for those who lived within closer proximity. The most common activities they engaged in during these visits include having meals together, going on outings and exchanging suggestions/advice about personal problems.

The Government has initiated a number of schemes to help elderly. Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) which was introduced to help lower-income elderly household supplement their retirement income when they right-size their flat. According to HDB, if an elderly buys a smaller flat type (up to three-room flat) or Studio Apartment (SA), he can apply for the SHB and receive up to S$20,000 cash bonus per household by using some of his net sale proceeds to top up his CPF Retirement Account (RA) and join CPF LIFE.

There is also the Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), an additional monetisation option to help low-income elderly households in three-room and smaller flats to unlock part of their housing equity while continue living in their homes, and receive a lifelong income stream to supplement their retirement income.

Under the Enhanced LBS, the elderly flat owners sell part of their flat lease to HDB and retain a 30-year lease. Their proceeds from selling part of the flat lease will be used to top up their CPF RAs. Flat owners will use their full CPF RA savings to purchase a CPF LIFE plan to give them a monthly income for life.



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