21 Jun 2012, 11.02AM
With rampant inflation hitting hard at the pockets of ordinary Singaporeans, an increasing number of them are defaulting on nursing home payment for their parents.
According to a report by the state media, some eldercare facilities in Singapore are seeing more cases of families defaulting on their payment and also facing the challenge of trying to contact family members.
For example, about half of the 110 patients at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home have defaulted on their payments, which ranges from about one to two months.
Speaking to queries from the media, manager of the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home Then Kim Yuan said:
“We as a caregiver of the patient can help apply for this tribunal (The Maintenance of Parents Act), but we have to be authorised by the patient or by the parents. Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t get the permission because to them, it’s a shame to be abandoned in the nursing home. If they were to force their children to pay for the expenses, they will feel even more embarrassed”.
In other First World countries like Finland, Sweden, Japan and Australia, the governments gave generous welfare subsidies to support the elderly through their twilight years, but not in Singapore where the burden of caring for aged parents falls solely on their children.
The Ministry of Health said it does not condone the abandonment of patients in residential healthcare institutions, such as nursing homes or hospitals.
“We are saddened to see such occurrences. In such situations, institutions will engage the family on an amicable resolution, such as financial assistance through subsidies, Medifund, charity dollars or payment by installations. The Maintenance of Parents Act can be exercised by elderly patients to pursue his/her child for maintenance, should such an unfortunate situation occur,” a MOH spokesperson said.