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My husband and I will be moving to Singapore at the end of the year. We are really looking forward to it. We are from Florida in the US. My husband already has a job lined up and I am disabled. This comes to my question. I use a wheelchair. In the US there are lots of rules and laws regarding the disabled and so there are handicap ramps and lots of facilities that cater to assist people like me. Is there anything like that in Singapore or is it tons and tons of stairways and cobblestone type streets that would be hard to roll on? This may sound like an odd question but it does make a big difference. Do you see many wheelchairs there?

Also, can anybody tell me a bit about the healthcare system there. Will we need to purchase health insurance or will my husband and I be covered through a national health system through his employer or something similar to that?

I appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks.
 

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I do assist a lot of the physically challenged organisations. And on permanent call for one.

Singapore is moving towards barrier free access, and as of now, all the train stations are equipped with lifts, unlike 10 years ago, when only a few were so.

And busses are being replaced for wheelchair friendly travel

Though Singapore is not US, we are getting somewhere I guess.

Including new building codes that MUST accommodate wheelchairs

See, the issue is not about Handicapped people - it is about an aging population.

Fret not.,

If your wheelchair is electric, or bulky, you maybe stuck with the Maxi Cabs which charge a flat rate - look up Singapore Limousine Taxi Cab | Luxury & comfort taxi cab in Singapore | Limo taxi cab

if your wheelchair is foldable, most taxi guys don't hesitate to accomodate you, except a rare few.

And the taxis have large boots.

Hope this helps

Do PM me, if you need any specific info
 

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Health & Tax

Hi There

Welcome to Singapore. I must say Singapore has only recently been a more wheel chair friendly place. Just a few weeks ago, i was on a bus. A local chinese requested for assistance up a wheel chair friendly bus and the indian bus driver stopped the bus, came out of his seat and activated the wheel chair ramp. It was a moving sight to see how our difference in colour does not differ in our assistance to one another in Singapore.

In Singapore, I am certain you will find some help even while Singapore had just begun to be a more wheel chair friendly place.

As for health insurances, i would seriously suggest you to take a look at it. I know many expats who bought insurances because of the high medical expenses in Singapore. Also, if you would like to enjoy tax relief, you will be glad to know that there are tax relief for foreign expats if they purchase life insurances in Singapore. Recently I spoke to someone at IRAS as regarding being a tax resident in singapore. Text me at +(65) 8100-7132 . I would be glad to help you with that!

Last but not least, Singapore has some community to help expats integrate better and faster. Not to forget the delicious local dishes!

Welcome to Singapore!
 

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Will picking an apartment/condo block, suitable design handicap ramps/wider main and room doors be a challenge? Many local developers and interior designers are slowly adjusting to elders but seldom to handicap needs(unless customized).
 

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lorgnette99: Since I work a lot with the handicaps and physically challenged - the newer blocks are never an issue.

The older ones, some are - but most are not an issue

As I said, the issue here in Singapore is not about physically challenged - and the concern is about an aging population - rightfully, the ramps, and wheelchair friendly access is all geared towards that, than the physically challenged - the latter are more of beneficiary of the revised building codes to cater for older folks:)

Unless you are in a extra wide wheel-chair, the MRT gates, LRT gates and the Wheelchair friendly busses, all have been designed to accommodate standard wheelchair width

Luckily, Singapore doesn't have the issue of extra large people, like certain western countries, and so far- it is good to go ..

Even motorised wheelchairs are of a certain width. As I can say from my experience
 

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Will picking an apartment/condo block, suitable design handicap ramps/wider main and room doors be a challenge? Many local developers and interior designers are slowly adjusting to elders but seldom to handicap needs(unless customized).
Just backing up the other comments, the situation has improved a lot over the last few years. The newer condos are ok.. I lived in a newer one for 4yrs (built around 2001 / 2002) and no-one would have had a problem with getting around it. There may have been some longer routes around the pool to avoid steps, but every part of the condo grounds could be reached.

I then spent 3yrs in an older one, built around mid-80's, and wheelchairs obviously hadn't made it to Singapore back then, as it would have been impossible to make it to most people's front doors in a wheelchair, steps everywhere you looked..
 

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Just backing up the other comments, the situation has improved a lot over the last few years. The newer condos are ok.. I lived in a newer one for 4yrs (built around 2001 / 2002) and no-one would have had a problem with getting around it. There may have been some longer routes around the pool to avoid steps, but every part of the condo grounds could be reached.

I then spent 3yrs in an older one, built around mid-80's, and wheelchairs obviously hadn't made it to Singapore back then, as it would have been impossible to make it to most people's front doors in a wheelchair, steps everywhere you looked..
in 1999, we organised a tour for handicapped, for the CNY, to China town - big mistake

The overhead bridge - across Eu Tong Sen street - was totally handicap unfriendly at both end - Lucky China town as well as PPC

We ended up carrying the disabled, 4 person per wheelchair, to the top, then wheeling them, then reverse on the other side. All 50 of them .. over the few steps up and few steps down to lift landings ..

Fast forward to 2008

With the NEL, there is easy access all around - you can take the underground route, if you don't want the overhead route - now. Vs the previous only option of wheeling to the end of Eu Tong Sen street, and cross at the traffic light, and then wheel back to PPC :)

Now we just accompany the handicapped, so they can wheel themselves .. we only assist - no more carrying, injured backs etc. etc.

I am yet to see a new condo without handicap parking or ramps / slopes to wheel up ..
 

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It sounds like some of you would have needed to use the wheelchair yourselves after carrying that many people over the bridge!

To the OP, I think someone mentioned earlier about the buses, I'd agree with this, the bus drivers seem to be very helpful and conscientious when it comes to wheelchairs.

Taxi drivers are probably a bit hit and miss however.. I've heard stories, rumours, (possibly unsubstantiated, who knows) that some will just sit in the car while the helper struggles with the person and the chair, but there probably isn't a country in the world who doesn't have some unhelpful drivers somewhere.

MRT is also fine, I've never seen anyone have any trouble getting on or off the train or finding space to park on the train.

Getting around the centre of Singapore in the chair is probably ok as well.. depending on where you live, you may find issues with nearby pavements being blocked by parked cars.. I know several Mums who have left notes on windscreens, given some fairly hard, terrifying stares at drivers etc, who park very inconsiderately meaning that they have to walk in the road with the push chairs, but again, this is probably the same in many developed cities around the world.

Pavements are generally ok, certainly in the centre. You may find the odd narrow one which runs alongside a storm drain a bit further out. Fortunately there are a lot of cyclists, walkers and joggers / runners in Singapore, and with few open spaces to exercise in, a large network of 'Park Connectors' has been built over the last 2-3 yrs, and if it's completed now, would run around a large chunk of the island. The connectors generally run along the canals, between parks as the name suggests, and is a good quality surface, suitable for bikes, blading, wheelchairs etc.

The main outdoor bits are 50-50.. Botanic Gardens is smooth tarmac, but most of MacRitchie and Bukit Timah is trails if I remember correctly. The East Coast park also has a long tarmac path running the length of it.
 

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It sounds like some of you would have needed to use the wheelchair yourselves after carrying that many people over the bridge!
Well, half the volunteers were on MC for back pain and all .. ;)

To the OP, I think someone mentioned earlier about the buses, I'd agree with this, the bus drivers seem to be very helpful and conscientious when it comes to wheelchairs.
Thats primarily because SBS and SMRT has been busy training drivers to be able to assist handicapped - including closing the front door, then stepping out to the back door to assist etc.

Luckily Singapore is yet there - when it comes to work place Health and Safety like Uk .. else, drivers will refuse to come near unless they have had training ..

MRT is also fine, I've never seen anyone have any trouble getting on or off the train or finding space to park on the train.
We advise the wheelchair users to use the first cabin, on the manual trains, as the drivers can step out and help if needed.

Auto-trains - no such joy ..

Getting around the centre of Singapore in the chair is probably ok as well.. depending on where you live, you may find issues with nearby pavements being blocked by parked cars.. I know several Mums who have left notes on windscreens, given some fairly hard, terrifying stares at drivers etc, who park very inconsiderately meaning that they have to walk in the road with the push chairs, but again, this is probably the same in many developed cities around the world.

Pavements are generally ok, certainly in the centre. You may find the odd narrow one which runs alongside a storm drain a bit further out. Fortunately there are a lot of cyclists, walkers and joggers / runners in Singapore, and with few open spaces to exercise in, a large network of 'Park Connectors' has been built over the last 2-3 yrs, and if it's completed now, would run around a large chunk of the island. The connectors generally run along the canals, between parks as the name suggests, and is a good quality surface, suitable for bikes, blading, wheelchairs etc.

The main outdoor bits are 50-50.. Botanic Gardens is smooth tarmac, but most of MacRitchie and Bukit Timah is trails if I remember correctly. The East Coast park also has a long tarmac path running the length of it.
Well, the exceptions are Chinatown and Little india, with their up and down sidewalks .. which has been becoming less of a problem too, with the raising of the levels due to the flooding (or ponding?? :)
 
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