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Plugging the gap in eldercare

AT age 86, Tsao Ng Yu Shun established the Tsao Foundation in Singapore to help the elderly lead a higher quality of life. Among other objectives, the late Mrs Tsao wanted the foundation to help the elderly to be in better control of their own lives, revealed her granddaughter Mary Ann Tsao, the chairwoman and founding director of the Tsao Foundation.

The Singapore-based foundation is focused on elderly care and ageing issues that was chartered by her grandmother in 1992. It has since gained a reputation for providing high quality and innovative community-based elder-centric services and programmes.

With the belief that the best place to age is in their own homes, the Tsao Foundation focuses on providing home care services to the elderly.

"Nursing homes are still needed for the very old or those with severe dementia, but most people are able to live at home with support from home care," said Dr Tsao in the keynote address at the Credit Suisse Philanthropists Forum 2017.

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She noted that when the foundation started in 1993, there were older people dying in their homes without anyone knowing. The foundation's homecare services allowed them to reach such people in the community who need their help.

She said that as today's families become smaller and members more mobile, there is a gap between what an elderly person needs and what their families can offer in terms of support.

Said Dr Tsao: "That's where philanthropy dollars can come in and fill the gap so that families can carry on."