Community important in helping those with dementia

I read the report showcasing the Japanese communities' readiness and cohesiveness to tackle the pressing situation presented by its ageing population with interest (It takes a community to help dementia patients; April 14).

With a similar population demographic, it would be wise for Singapore to take a leaf out of Japan's book.

Currently, 10 per cent of people aged 60 and above in Singapore have dementia, and by 2030, the number of people with dementia is expected to hit 103,000.

Although it may sound rare, dementia can happen to any adult.

After attending a workshop presented by Ms Jane Verity, founder and president of Dementia Care Australia, I am heartened to learn that some dementia patients can regain their lost cognitive and functional abilities to a certain extent.

Hence, contrary to popular belief, dementia is treatable.

A number of dementia-friendly communities have been set up in Singapore. In these communities, residents and stakeholders are trained to recognise signs of dementia and to provide assistance to those in need.

People, especially those with elderly members in the household, should consider participating in such community initiatives and get the necessary training when given the opportunity.

Building a cohesive and inclusive society takes more than just supportive agencies, framework and infrastructure.

We also need more warmth, humility and acceptance from the community towards the needy.

It is human interaction that will make a difference in others' lives.

Let us show more empathy towards others and help one another.

Tan Chin Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Community important in helping those with dementia'. Print Edition | Subscribe