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Elasticity Concept

Feb 12, 2009
JB nursing homes draw
Main factor is the lower fees; some also have facilities comparable to those in Singapore

By Melissa Sim

WHEN civil servant Gordon Yong, 39, needed to find a nursing home for his mother following her stroke, he found the ones in Singapore too expensive.

They were charging between $1,200 and $1,800 a month - far more than he could afford on his salary of under $4,000, which also supports his three-child family. His working wife also has to look after her parents.

He did the next best thing and got his mother a place in a home in Johor Baru (JB) for $600 a month. This is how Madam Leong Mew Peng, 80, came to live in Spring Valley Homecare, less than half an hour's drive from the Causeway.

Fellow Singaporean Alison Low, 58, checked herself into Spring Valley over two years ago - also for cost reasons.

The three-year-old home has 11 Singaporeans, making up one in five residents there. Of the 10 other homes The Straits Times inquired at in JB, eight said they had between one and 10 Singaporeans.

Checks with their kin showed cost savings to be the main draw of these homes.

A plug for these homes came in Parliament on Monday from Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who said Singaporeans could save money by using JB nursing homes. For what it costs to board someone in a private nursing home here, 'you can stretch it easily to pay for at least 21/2 months of nursing home care in Johor Baru', he said. The facilities there typically charge between $450 and $1,000 a month, compared to those here which ask for between $1,000 and $4,000.

Mr Khaw said another perk is that JB is 'near enough for relatives to visit'.

Using Elasticity concepts...should the Singapore NH lower their prices?

Should the Singapore government intervene?