First 24-hour dementia go-to point launched in Yishun

Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home in Yishun is Singapore's first 24/7 "dementia go-to point".
Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home in Yishun is Singapore's first 24/7 "dementia go-to point". ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first 24/7 "dementia go-to point" officially launched on Sept 10 (Sunday).

It is at the Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home in Yishun, also making it the country's first such go-to point in a nursing facility.

These points, of which there are 58 around the island, serve as places where lost and wandering people with dementia can be brought to by members of the public.

They also serve as community resource centres where those who want to find out more about caring for people with dementia can get information, go for classes, and be linked with relevant services.

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

The dementia go-to points were first set up last March (2016), and although there are no figures available, The Straits Times understands that a small number of dementia patients have been helped at these points.

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

Since officially launching last January (2016), the initiative has trained about 17,000 people and worked with about 70 organisations to raise awareness of how to deal with those with dementia.

About one in 10 of Singaporean seniors aged 60 and above have dementia, a figure expected to rise as the country continues to age.

President of the Sree Narayana Mission, Mr Shanavas Vijayan, said: "We never were closed off to the community, we hold events and 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."

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

The five dementia-friendly communities are Yishun, Hong Kah North, Queenstown, Bedok and MacPherson.

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