The Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA) is glad that District Judge May Mesenas decided on probation for Madam Tan Siew Ngoh for being a nuisance to her neighbours. This was to allow Madam Tan to seek help for her dementia (Yishun nuisance neighbour gets 6 months' probation; Dec 29, 2018).
Had there been proper help and support for her and her family earlier on, the situation might not have reached the stage it did.
For example, had her symptoms been recognised, she could have been diagnosed with dementia earlier and proper intervention provided.
More awareness on the symptoms of dementia should be propagated in the community so that family members, neighbours, community workers and the police can recognise the condition.
Another suggestion could be an implementation of a programme like the Appropriate Adult Scheme, which provides assistance to persons with intellectual or mental disability who are required to give a statement to the police during investigation.
Volunteers can be trained to learn how to communicate effectively with persons with dementia and act as a bridge to facilitate the interview process between the police and suspect/victim/witness in question, enabling them to understand queries and communicate more effectively.
As Singapore's population ages, we are likely to see more cases like that of Madam Tan.
Every person with dementia has different and unique needs which can make caring for them very challenging. ADA has a Dementia Helpline (6377 0700) which the public and caregivers can call to ask for help. We have experienced staff who can give advice over the phone and if need be, a home visit can be made to provide intervention and support for highly-stressed caregivers.
ADA also runs training courses and support groups for caregivers of persons with dementia.
Mr Jason Foo
Alzheimer's Disease Association
Chief Executive Officer