EARLY end-of-life preparations are important for peace of mind ("More Singaporeans making end-of-life preparations"; Sept 1). However, it is not an entirely smooth and easy process for some.
First, there is the language barrier. A significant proportion of people aged 55 and above speak only Mandarin and do not know any English.
The problem is that all legal documents, including those for the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), are in English. Thus, the language barrier deters some from making end-of-life preparations.
At Life Point, a project by the Society of Sheng Hong Welfare Services, volunteers help to explain the documents in a language that the elderly can understand, and help them to fill in the LPA form. For a nominal fee, the elderly can use a one-stop service to get their LPA signed by a lawyer and delivered to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Second, there is little public awareness of the LPA. Many elderly folk still do not know what it is for and how to go about obtaining one.
To increase public awareness, Life Point started public education on end-of-life preparations, including obtaining an LPA.
Third, it is not easy for some elderly folk who live alone to find a suitable donee (someone to make decisions on their behalf should they lose their mental capacity). They may have no family members to turn to and their friends are equally old. Others are not confident about entrusting their property and affairs to their friends.
With smaller family units and longer lifespans, this group is getting bigger. I hope the Government can help by setting up a public trustee service.