TAIPEI, Taiwan — Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday that the government will upgrade and overhaul Taiwan’s three major public nursing homes, as the residents there have grown old and now have different needs.
From 2010, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) will spend NT$135.8 million (US$4.53 million) over a period of four years to improve facilities and services at the three education and nursing institutions located in Nantou County, Yunlin County and Tainan City, Jiang said in the central county of Nantou.
Most of the 970 residents at the three MOI-sponsored institutions, who entered the homes decades ago when they were in their teens, have grown old, making it necessary for the MOI to change the homes’ services from education-centered efforts to better care for the elderly, Chiang said.
The minister visited the Nantou Education and Nursing Institute located in the county’s Mingjian Township, where he experienced Snoezelen multi-sensory therapy in a ward known as the White Room.
Snoezelen therapy, developed in the late 1970s by two Dutch therapists, can stimulate, relax, calm or energize patients by adapting the lighting, atmosphere, sounds and textures to the specific needs of the patients.
Chiang also visited a vegetable garden at the institution, where he planted asparagus lettuce seeds and told his hosts he will visit the home again when the lettuce has grown.
At a press conference held at the institution, Jiang said that about 1.06 million Taiwanese citizens are holders of the Handbook for the Handicapped as physically or mentally challenged people.
Of the total, about 23,000 suffer from medium or severe handicaps and need to stay at institutions.