New dementia day care centre at Ang Mo Kio adds to facilities available for elderly residents

SINGAPORE - A dementia day care centre is the newest eldercare facility on the block in Ang Mo Kio, which has a high proportion of elderly residents.

The centre is part of a continuing push to build up community care facilities in the neighbourhood, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is also an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said at the opening of Asian Women's Welfare Association's (AWWA) Dementia Day Care Centre on Saturday.

The number of elderly folks is soaring nationwide. Three years ago, one in nine Singaporeans were 65 and older. Last year, it was one in eight.

In Ang Mo Kio itself, one in 6 of its residents is aged 65 and above. In his Teck Ghee ward, he said that one in five residents is already 65 and above.

"As we get older, we must upgrade our neighbourhood so that Ang Mo Kio can remain a community for all ages," said Mr Lee.

There is already a new family medicine clinic in Ang Mo Kio which was set up in 2013.

A nursing home in Teck Ghee is in the works, and a new and improved polyclinic will be ready by 2018, housed alongside a senior care centre so services like daycare and rehabilitation can be offered under a single roof.

The new AWWA Dementia Day Care Centre at Blk 123 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, which was officially opened on Saturday, will fit in squarely in this landscape, providing greater convenience for seniors and their caregivers and offering a suite of day care, rehabilitation and dementia care services.

Funded by the Ministry of Health, the centre can look after 40 people with dementia daily. They can also attend programmes such as recreational games and arts and crafts to keep active.

"But, another important part of a community for all ages is that we must all support one another," Mr Lee reminded.

He praised the AWWA, which has been present in Ang Mo Kio since 1976, for its efforts. The welfare organisation has been an asset to the neighbourhood and helped look after 500 seniors and their families through facilities like its community home and senior activity centre.

And it has even helped the community to bond, by providing platforms for seniors to help other seniors. One such person who he highlighted was 82-year-old Ho Sau Lian, who visits elderly folk during the weekends to ensure that frail seniors are safe, and to also help them with their grocery shopping.

asyiqins@sph.com.sg