Rebranded Dementia Singapore to roll out new initiatives including resource portal, assisted living project

Alzheimer's Disease Association, which is now rebranded as Dementia Singapore, announced several initiatives to help those with dementia and their caregivers. PHOTO: DEMENTIA SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - New initiatives to support people with dementia and their caregivers will be rolled out, marking the rebranding of the Alzheimer's Disease Association as Dementia Singapore.

The initiatives are a resource portal, a membership programme, an inclusiveness toolkit for businesses and an assisted living project, President Halimah Yacob announced in a speech posted on Facebook on Wednesday (Sept 1).

The organisation will also extend its help for those with Alzheimer's to those with other dementia-related conditions, she added.

Dementia is a general term that describes a wide range of symptoms such as loss of memory, language and problem-solving abilities.

The conditions that cause these symptoms include Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

A 2015 study by the Institute of Mental Health found that one in 10 Singaporeans aged 60 and above suffers from dementia - or about 82,000 people.

The toolkit and resource portal are scheduled to be launched this month, while the membership portal and assisted living project are slated for November, Dementia Singapore told The Straits Times.

The toolkit will offer a three-stage framework for organisations to adopt more inclusive practices.

The resource portal will provide information for people with dementia, caregivers, professionals and the public.

The membership programme will take the form of a mobile application which will seek to be a platform for caregivers and people with dementia to find resources. It will also have a safe return function, which helps them get home if they become lost.

The assisted living project will be sited in a block of Housing Board flats, aimed at providing dementia care facilities and support to allow people with dementia to continue to live in their homes.

Founded in 1990 as the Alzheimer's Disease Association, the organisation was relaunched by Madam Halimah on Wednesday - coinciding with the beginning of World Alzheimer's Month.

"These initiatives are good first steps, and I urge Dementia Singapore to further assess the needs of the dementia community here and work with the Government to boost our capabilities to build a dementia-friendly society," she said.

Dementia Singapore chief executive Jason Foo said it will "continue tracking the ever-changing caregiving trends and needs of people with dementia".

It will also "lend an expert voice to the dementia care landscape in Singapore, and cement our place in it".

In her speech, Madam Halimah said Singapore's ageing population means that the number of people living with dementia is set to rise.

Singapore's 2020 census showed that those aged 65 and older made up 15.2 per cent of residents last year, a significant rise from 9 per cent in 2010.

She added: "It is imperative to plan ahead to improve our capability and capacity for dementia care, and introduce quality programmes to meet the growing demand."

She said Singapore must work to create a dementia-friendly society, adding that this is one where people with the condition are understood, respected, supported, are able move around safely and easily in the communities they live in, and lead independent and meaningful lives.

Said Mr Foo: "All our existing programmes and services, ongoing efforts in the community, and other upcoming initiatives are now more important than ever."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.