Forum: Community support needed for safe, inclusive living environment for people with dementia

I am glad that people with dementia are getting more support, with all 98 train stations operated by SMRT being listed as dementia go-to points by the end of the year (Help for those with dementia at all SMRT train stations, Feb 28). Dementia-friendly seats, aptly known as Kindness Seats, will also be rolled out in 29 more train stations by June.

These Kindness Seats, which have brightly coloured decals and messages encouraging commuters to show kindness, will also serve as gentle reminders to be considerate to others.

The new initiative complements the wayfinder murals at HDB blocks and bus interchanges (Helping people with dementia find their way home, Feb 8), and together they will more effectively create a safer and more inclusive place for those with dementia.

The condition most commonly affects seniors. The Agency for Integrated Care estimates that one in 10 seniors aged 60 and above - around 86,000 people - has dementia in Singapore. The number is expected to increase to 130,000 or more by 2030 as our population ages.

It is important for us to be able to look out for one another, especially the elderly in our communities as there have been more cases of seniors with dementia getting lost or going missing.

While staff at MRT stations and bus interchanges are trained to identify and assist people with dementia, commuters also need to learn how to recognise people with signs of dementia and help them quickly.

In this way, we can build inclusive dementia-friendly communities in our neighbourhoods where seniors can continue their daily activities in a safe and caring environment.

In such communities, residents, small businesses and other members of the neighbourhood understand how to interact and better support people with dementia and their caregivers.

By understanding the physical, mental and emotional challenges that people with dementia and their caregivers face, we can be more empathetic, patient and understanding towards them.

William Wan (Dr)

General Secretary

Singapore Kindness Movement

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