Safer Homes with EASE: HDB Expands EASE Programme to Include Ramps for Flats with Multi-Step Entrances
Starting from 5 December 2018, HDB will offer ramps for residents living in older flats with multi-step entrances, under its Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme. This will enable seniors living in such flats to enter and exit their homes more easily and safely.
2 HDB flats are designed with a variety of configurations. Some older flats built in the 1970s and 1980s, were designed with multi-step entrances so that their windows could be raised above the eye level of passers-by. Today, there are approximately 170,000 HDB flats with multi-step entrances. While the design afforded residents greater privacy and security, particularly those located along the common corridors, they could also become more challenging for residents to navigate as they age or become less mobile.
3 From 5 December 2018, HDB will enhance its EASE programme to include two new improvement items, so residents can move in and out of their homes with greater ease. These new items – a portable ramp and a customised ramp – are suitable for the majority of HDB flats with multi-step entrances.
i) Portable Ramp – Such ramps are suitable for units with sufficient space in front of the unit’s entrance (e.g. units located at the corner/s of the block). They can be dismantled when not in use.
Portable ramp, suitable for corner units
ii) Customised Ramp – Such ramps are fabricated according to the configuration of the unit’s entrance and space, subject to site constraints. The customised ramp is suitable for units located along the corridor.
Customised ramp, configured to orientation of unit along the corridor
4 Residents whose flats are undergoing the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) will be offered the EASE programme in conjunction with HIP. They may choose to have the ramps installed then.
5 For those whose flats are not undergoing HIP, they can apply directly to HDB to have the ramps installed under the EASE (Direct Application). To be eligible, the flat owner must be a Singapore Citizen (SC), with at least one household member who is:
aged 65 years old and above and a wheelchair-user; or
aged between 60 and 64 years old and requires assistance for one or more of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL).
6 HDB’s appointed contractor will conduct a site assessment, and advise flat owners on the type of ramp solution suitable for the entrance of their flat (e.g. portable or customised ramps). Please refer to the Annex for the cost of the various EASE packages.
7 There are some flats where ramps cannot be installed due to site constraints, such as the block layout or lack of available corridor space. To address these situations, HDB has worked with the industry to design a lightweight and compact mechanical wheelchair lifter that is suitable for use in HDB estates.
8 Relative to ramps, the wheelchair lifter is costlier and requires regular maintenance as due to the mechanical parts involved. HDB will offer this wheelchair lifter in cases where the ramp solutions are not feasible, under a separate pilot that is not part of the EASE programme. The Government will subsidise half the cost of the wheelchair lifter for Singapore Citizen households. The balance will be paid by the flat owner. There is also an annual servicing fee of about $80*, payable by the flat owner from the second year onwards, following a one year defects liability period. Please refer to the Annex for the cost of the wheelchair lifter. HDB will gather feedback from residents on the design and gauge their receptiveness to the wheelchair lifter, before deciding if it should be included as part of the EASE programme.
* Amount is subject to change
Where there are site constraints due to unit orientation and proximity to staircase landing etc, the wheelchair lifter can be a solution
9 These new improvement items will be suitable for the majority of HDB flats with multi-step entrances. However, there remains a number of flats where these solutions will not be feasible. These are generally ground-level flats with five to seven steps leading up to the flat. Wheelchair-bound seniors living in such flats may approach HDB to explore alternative solutions.
 Under EASE, flat owners can choose to have a range of elderly-friendly fittings installed in their home, to enhance the safety and comfort of elderly family members. These include:
a) Slip-resistant treatment to existing floor tiles in their bathrooms/toilets;
b) Grab bars for bathroom/toilet and/or within the flat; and
c) Ramps to negotiate level differences within the flat and at single-step main entrance.
 ADL refers to daily self-care activities within an individual’s place of residence. These activities include washing/bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, mobility, and transferring.