Grants Fund Projects to Help Elderly

Grants Fund Projects to Help Elderly

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Media Type
TODAY online

Singapore - As Singapore's population ages, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will be embarking on a study to address one of their fundamental needs - whether they have enough time to cross the road at pedestrian crossings safely.

Among one of the projects to be awarded grants of S$10,000 each yesterday from the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation (MSIWF), the researchers will attempt to determine the right length of time that will let senior citizens cross the road comfortably.

"We will take into consideration the daily activities that the elderly do, such as carrying shopping bags or pushing a pram and taking care of their grandchildren," said Dr Kong Pui Wah, associate professor at the National Institute of Education.

According to the team, the findings may allow the Land Transport Authority to tweak its current "Green Man Plus" pilot scheme, which allows the elderly up to five seconds more when they tap on a reader with a senior citizen concession card at a crossing.

Three other Singaporean projects were awarded grants: One by the NTU, and two by the National University of Singapore (NUS).

One project by the NUS will look at developing dental care for recovering elderly patients, in particular stroke patients and those in rehabilitation from other conditions such as fractures.

Dental care is an important part of rehabilitation, said the team, which hopes the research could lead to a programme providing subsidised healthcare for those aged above 65, possibly with a government agency like the Health Promotion Board.

"Right now, oral health needs of children here are very well taken of, but there's a gap for the elderly in this area. We would like to assess the needs of the older population and provide data on that," said Associate Professor Catherine Hong from the Faculty of Dentistry at the NUS.

The second NTU project will look at how relationships play a part in helping diabetic patients adjust to their condition, of which the findings may be used to develop intervention programmes using family relationships to influence patients.

The fourth project, by the NUS, will develop robotic therapy to support patients with hemiparesis - those with weaknesses on one side of the body. It could potentially replace commonly-used physiotherapy equipment - such as weight machines, and rubber tubes - to lower costs at rehabilitation facilities.

This is the fifth year that the MSIWF has given out grants in Singapore. From among the 212 applications received from researchers in Singapore, Japan and Thailand, 45 grants totalling ¥37.5 million (S$629,000) were given out. 

Source: TODAY online, mediacorp