Singapore is rapidly aging. It now ranks as #82 in the world in terms of highest median age, which has risen from 29.8 in 1990 to 39.3 in 2014. One implication of this change is that there are more elderly persons that we need to take care of than ever before. Nursing homes are a big component of doing just that, but many Singaporeans may not know what kind of costs are involved in such a process.
In general, nursing home fees in Singapore range from $1,200 to $3,500 per month, depending on the type of care and whether the services are rendered in the centres or at home. Subsidies available to selected nursing homes can play a big part in reducing costs too. Here, we discuss many factors that influence this cost to help Singaporeans budget for it if there’s ever a need.
Table of Contents
Type of Care
To determine the type of nursing home that will be suitable for an elderly, you need to first look at their needs. There are many types of elder care, which can be split into inpatient care, care services at home and day care.
Nursing homes come under inpatient care, which is suitable for patients who are unable to take care of themselves and cannot be cared for in their home. For those who require only temporary help, there is respite care, which costs around $100 to $150 a day. Patients who are suffering from advanced or terminal diseases and require more skilled nursing care can seek inpatient hospice care services. The latter is the most expensive of the lot, coming at an estimated $7,000 a month, although selected hospice allows for payment by Medisave.
|Type of Care||Average Cost|
|Temporary Day Care||S$100-S150/day|
|Care Services at Home||S$80-S$220/day|
|Intensive Inpatient Care||S$7,000/month|
Home Care Services
Some elderly may require day care services instead of staying at a nursing home due to movement difficulties. There is a range of home services provided, depending on the needs, including medical services, home therapy for those requiring rehabilitation, home help for assistance with daily living and home nursing care. These services usually range between $80 to $220.
Available Government Subsidies
The Singapore government provides different levels of subsidies for different income groups as shown below. However, it is important to note that only Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents qualify for these grants.
|Household Per Capita Monthly Income||Subsidy Rate|
|Singapore Citizens||Permanent Residents|
|$0 - $700||75%||50%|
|$701 - $1,100||60%||40%|
|$1,101 - $1,600||50%||30%|
|$1,601 - $1,800||40%||20%|
|$1,801 - $ 2,600||20%||10%|
|$2,601 and above||0%||0%|
Additional grants by the government are also in place – the Eldershield and the Medishield. The Eldershield was introduced in 2002 with the purpose of providing affordable insurance coverage to elderly Singaporeans who require long-term care and it is payable by Medisave. Premiums are paid annually and the older you are, the more premium you have to pay. The entry age of Eldershield is 40, with an annual premium of $174.96 and $217.76 for males and females respectively, payable till age 65. This means that should a male join the Eldershield scheme at age 40, he will pay $174.96 every year until he is 65.
There is one key problem regarding Eldershield. Unfortunately, an elderly with an age of 85 higher (those who were at least 71 when the Eldershield was introduced) does not qualify for the Eldershield scheme. This means that the family has to bear the full cost of his nursing home fees, only with the ILTC subsidies described in the table above.
Also, there are 2 main types of nursing homes – private and those which belong under Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO). While most private nursing homes are not under the the Ministry of Health's portable subsidy scheme, there are accredited private nursing homes who which are eligible for the portable subsidy scheme under MOH. VWO Nursing homes are also similarly split. Some allow people who meet the means-test criteria to get additional financial assistance, and others self-funded ones are able to provide financial and social assistance to patients who are unable to afford the fees.
We hope that this article has highlighted the cost of nursing care in Singapore, and that more people are prepared for them earlier in life!
Article Written by Lynette Tan