SingPost commences rollout of Postman Home Visits initiative for vulnerable elderly
SINGAPORE, 20 December 2018 – Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) today commenced its Postman Home Visits initiative, a first-of-its-kind programme where postmen volunteer to check on vulnerable elderly while making their delivery rounds.
The launch comes after a successful year-long pilot with AMKFSC Community Services and social enterprise NTUC Health SilverACE (Henderson), seven participating postmen and 11 seniors in the Ang Mo Kio and Henderson districts.
Following the success of the pilot, SingPost will progressively roll out the programme to all districts across Singapore. Volunteer calls to postmen serving in Yishun and Jurong commence next month. The coverage in Ang Mo Kio will also be expanded with the recent addition of four volunteers who had signed up.
Postman Home Visits initiative
The Postman Home Visits initiative is a key initiative under SingPost’s Programme Silver, a community scheme aimed at addressing issues arising from Singapore’s ageing population. Under Programme Silver, SingPost has put in place dementia awareness training for its frontline delivery staff to keep an eye out for the elderly in the community, and organised courses for seniors as part of People’s Association Seniors for Smart Nation workshops to learn about new technologies and services at SingPost’s new-generation smart post offices. Other community initiatives include the use of its delivery network to transport unsold bread and pastries from hotels and bakeries to collection points for needy seniors and families several times a week, as well as staff volunteering activities.
The Postman Home Visits initiative was conceptualised as a means by which SingPost could leverage its unique strengths – its extensive and well-established mail delivery network, to give back to the community. The voluntary programme entails postmen making weekly visits to 1-3 elderly residing within their mail delivery beats1 and classified as “vulnerable” by social service agencies due to medical and/or social factors. The postmen assist to check on the general well-being of the elderly beneficiaries, and over time, befriending them so issues can be raised and addressed rapidly.
Training is provided for the postmen before they commence their home visits. During their house calls, the postmen make simple observations about the elderly under their charge, and fill in a checklist for the relevant social service agency servicing the area to give them a sense of the seniors’ mental and physical well-being. Should the postman encounter an emergency situation during their visits, they are able to directly contact staff from the social agency for assistance.
The pilot has shown that postmen who have participated in the initiative have been able to manage their schedules and maintain delivery standards even as they spend some time checking on the elderly beneficiaries. Many even make additional visits every week as their friendship with the elderly beneficiaries grows.
SingPost is also working with various partners such as the Community Chest as well as the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to enhance the initiative as well as reach out to more social service providers covering various regions in Singapore.
“Postmen have been an ubiquitous part of the community for more than a century. The Postman Home Visits initiative is a natural extension of their service to the community, as it offers kind-hearted staff the opportunity to do good during the course of their work,” said Mr Woo Keng Leong, CEO of Postal Services, SingPost.
“SingPost is proud to enable these postmen to do good for the community, and would like to thank our social agency partners as well for offering us the support, training and guidance for this initiative.”
Benefits to stakeholders
The Postman Home Visits initiative supplements regular visits by social service organisations to the vulnerable elderly, with the postmen acting as an extra pair of eyes and ears for the social workers. The timing of the postmen’s visits (weekday working hours between 9am and 6pm) also coincides with periods where the elderly beneficiaries are most likely to be alone at home as their family members are at work. Through the home visits, the postmen are able to check in on the elderly beneficiaries, as well as provide companionship to them.
Due to their work, the postmen are familiar with the neighbourhood and residents; in particular our Employee Neighbourhood Postmen2 – comprising largely housewives or retirees – who live within or near their beats. They would thus be in a good position to befriend and conduct regular checks on vulnerable elderly, who they might already know about in the course of their work.
"AMKFSC is delighted to be partnering with SingPost on the Postman Home Visits initiative to check on the well-being of seniors under our care. The volunteers are very helpful in maintaining contact with seniors who are of high risk and in need of more frequent contact than the normal weekly befriending. The volunteers have shown that they can perform a sustainable voluntary service as part of their work, which does not require them to take extra time-off or go out of their way to help. This is a great example of how small sustainable efforts are doable, and meet the needs of beneficiaries. It also demonstrates how community agencies can work with community partners to support our seniors and other vulnerable persons by examining what is needed on the ground, and the core roles of employees in their companies," said Mr Ng Koon Sing, Head of AMKFSC's COMNET Senior Services.
“NTUC Health is pleased to partner with SingPost in their pilot of the Postman Home Visits initiative for seniors served by SilverACE (Henderson). NTUC Health deploys community care teams and a large pool of volunteers to look out for the well-being of seniors who are frail and home-bound. SingPost’s postmen can help to check in on the seniors, and be that additional pair of eyes and ears to check for us. As Singapore’s population ages, the community as a whole will increasingly need to work together to care for seniors, especially those who are living alone. We are glad that this programme will be extended across the island and that more seniors can benefit,” said Ms Jeannie Ho, Director, Senior Cluster Network of NTUC Health.
1 A postman’s beat consists of the blocks of flats, as well as residential, commercial and/or industrial units that he delivers mail to.
2 Employee Neighbourhood Postmen are postmen and postwomen who have flexibility in working hours as they deliver mail to areas within the neighbourhood of their homes.
About Singapore Post Limited
For 160 years, Singapore Post (SingPost) as the country’s postal service provider, has been delivering trusted and reliable services to homes and businesses in Singapore.
Today, SingPost is pioneering and leading in eCommerce logistics as well as providing innovative mail and logistics solutions in Singapore and around the world, with operations in 19 markets.
Building on its trusted communications through domestic and international postal services, SingPost is taking the lead in end-to-end integrated and digital mail solutions. The suite of SingPost eCommerce logistics solutions includes front end web management, warehousing and fulfilment, last mile delivery and international freight forwarding.
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