24-hour dementia go-to point opens in Yishun

Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home resident Tan Geok Kuan (centre) performing during the mission's celebrations yesterday to mark 163 years since Indian philosopher Sree Narayana Guru's birth.
Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home resident Tan Geok Kuan (centre) performing during the mission's celebrations yesterday to mark 163 years since Indian philosopher Sree Narayana Guru's birth.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

People with dementia who are found to be lost and wandering can be taken to the Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home in Yishun, the first location in a nursing facility to be able to receive such people in distress round the clock.

There are 58 places around the island that serve as go-to points, where people who cannot remember where they live can be taken to by members of the public. The Singapore Silver Pages website has a map showing all of these places.

The go-to points also serve as community resource centres to get information about dementia, attend classes and be linked with relevant services.

The Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home, for instance, offers classes for caregivers and domestic workers on how to take care of people with dementia.

The dementia go-to points were first set up in March last year and although there are no figures available, The Straits Times understands that a small number of people have been helped at these points.

The launch yesterday dovetails with other efforts to make the Yishun estate a more dementia-friendly community, such as the Forget Us Not initiative by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and the Lien Foundation.

Since it was officially launched in January last year, this initiative has trained about 17,000 people and worked with about 70 organisations to raise awareness about how to deal with those with dementia.

About one in 10 Singaporeans aged 60 and above has dementia, a figure expected to rise as the country continues to age.

Mr Shanavas Vijayan, president of the Sree Narayana Mission, said: "We were never closed off to the community, we hold events and we know we have the facilities and the capabilities to take care of people with dementia. We are really happy with today's launch, to help support the community."

The mission, set up in 1948, is a charitable institution that operates a range of community welfare programmes. Its founders followed the teachings of Indian philosopher and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.

The guest of honour at the launch, Senior Minister of State for Health, and Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat, said he looked forward to setting up more of such go-to points around the island, in addition to expanding the number of dementia-friendly communities.

Currently, these communities are Yishun, Hong Kah North, Queenstown, Bedok and MacPherson.

Former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob was a special guest at the launch, which took place during the mission's celebrations to mark 163 years since Sree Narayana Guru's birth.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2017, with the headline '24-hour dementia go-to point opens in Yishun'. Print Edition | Subscribe