All Yio Chu Kang estates to be dementia-friendly by 2025

People taking part in a mass exercise at Yio Chu Kang CC as part of Yio Chu Kang Day celebrations on Dec 4, 2021. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Yio Chu Kang will become a colourful town by 2025, with vibrant colours and bigger block numbers to be painted on its flats, making it easier for people with dementia to find their way home.

It is set to become the first entire town in Singapore to incorporate dementia-friendly features.

This was announced by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and the constituency on Saturday (Dec 4) during Yio Chu Kang Day celebrations at the Yio Chu Kang Community Club (CC).

The event saw over 250 residents across five physical locations in the estate community-bonding through activities like mass exercise.

Also present were Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is the event's guest of honour and adviser to the Ang Mo Kio grassroots organisations, and Mr Yip Hon Weng, adviser to the YCK grassroots organisations.

Dementia-friendly features will include colour zoning of HDB blocks to help people with dementia identify the vicinity, as well as infrastructure enhancements like anti-slip tiles, sheltered walkways, levelled ground and assistive grab bars on slopes to ensure better accessibility and safety for people using mobility devices.

Yio Chu Kang was chosen as it has a higher proportion of senior residents and people with dementia - about 44 per cent of its residents are aged 50 and above.

The project will be carried out in HDB estates as well as the private residential estate in Lentor.

Resident Chia Cheng Yee, 62, the caregiver of two parents with dementia, said she looks forward to the upgrades.

The retiree, who used to work in IT management, added that having more ramps and evened-out small steps could help her parents feel safer walking around the neighbourhood.

"My parents got lost last year while trying to get home, so I hope the new features can give them more confidence to walk around the neighbourhood without being afraid of losing their way," said Madam Chia.

She has been taking care of her father and mother, both aged 86, since they were diagnosed with dementia in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

She also makes use of a 360-degree virtual reality HDB home design guide developed by AIC and Dementia Singapore for tips on how to make a home more friendly for those with dementia, such as putting labels on bedroom cabinets and drawers to help them easily locate their belongings.

Over 250 residents across five physical locations in the estate community-bonding through activities like mass exercise. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The guide, which can be found at AIC's website, was launched in August and has been accessed by more than 1,500 people so far.

Yio Chu Kang CC is also slated for upgrading works, which will start in January next year and are expected to be completed in 2023.

The new CC will incorporate digital technology in its design and features, such as self-help kiosks to facilitate booking of courses and activity registration, as well as interactive signage to help residents navigate the venue.

A book titled YCK40 was launched at Saturday's event to honour YCK residents and grassroots volunteers who helped those whose livelihoods and lives were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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