Forum: Provide workplace support for those with dementia

An elderly person sits alone at Bukit Merah on Aug 18, 2020.
An elderly person sits alone at Bukit Merah on Aug 18, 2020.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The authorities have to study what is needed to support a growing population of people living with dementia.

The condition is typically associated with old age. However, in my experience as a volunteer with the Alzheimer's Disease Association, we are seeing younger people being diagnosed with early signs of dementia.

Much as I appreciate that employers need to have the right people to support their business needs, we need to mitigate the risk of employers disengaging employees who are diagnosed with early signs of dementia (Wanted: More bosses to see potential of PWDs, Sept 10).

This is the precise time that these people need to continue to be engaged in meaningful daily activities lest their cognitive abilities take a quicker downward slide.

Many of them are still able to continue working and be engaged in activities that are not complex. Employers must explore all possible means to retain such employees, including job redesign and redeployment.

As there is no cure for dementia currently, there will come a time when these individuals will not be able to contribute meaningfully at the workplace.

For Singapore to truly embrace diversity and inclusivity, we need to intensify our efforts to tackle this inevitable challenge.

The Alzheimer's Disease Association's collaboration with Kebun Baru to build a more inclusive dementia-friendly community is just one example of what we can do.

Paul Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2020, with the headline 'Provide workplace support for those with dementia'. Print Edition | Subscribe