HDB builds Studio Apartments (SAs) to provide an additional housing option for our seniors. SAs come with elderly-friendly fixtures such as grab bars and alert alarm systems. They are conveniently located within HDB towns, providing easy access to a wide range of public facilities. Seniors can also stay active and participate in day programmes at nearby Senior Activity Centres.
SAs make a lot of sense for seniors living in larger flats after their children have moved out to their own flats. They can then either rent out some empty rooms, or move into SAs with substantial sale proceeds. Both the rental income and the sale proceeds become valuable in supporting their retirement needs.
Many seniors have taken advantage of the SA scheme. Between 2006 and 2013, 7,600 households have booked an SA. Their profile is interesting:
• Two-thirds were below 65.
• Half were living alone, being divorced, single or widowed.
• 22% remained in the same HDB town.
• 70% were former owners of a 3- or 4-room flat.
• Their net sale proceeds, after (a) paying off outstanding
housing loan for the old flat, and (b) fully paying for the new SA, was substantial, around $200,000 per flat.
SAs are effective in helping seniors in their retirement. They are particularly attractive to seniors living alone, who will otherwise find maintaining a large flat a chore.
Because many SA seniors live alone, they will need family and community support. Hence, we are determined to help families who want to stay near to each other realise their dream.
We are taking SAs one step further by weaving them into integrated developments, like the Kampung Admiralty which we broke ground for recently. The two blocks of SAs will have easy access to a hawker centre, public plaza, healthcare, childcare and eldercare services, all under the same roof. The co-location is deliberate to promote inter-generational interaction and bonding with their children and grandkids.
We will continue to experiment and try out new layouts to see what will work best for our seniors, and to enable them to age actively where they live, in their familiar HDB town.
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