Community support is important in tackling dementia, says health minister

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s dementia ward.
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s dementia ward.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Becoming a dementia-friendly community is key to helping Singaporeans age successfully. This includes raising awareness about dementia, building infrastructure for those with the disease, and focusing research on how to delay its progress.

"While it is important for us to improve on the 'hardware', it is even more important for us to foster stronger community support and create dementia-friendly communities. "This will help reduce stigma associated with dementia, and improve the quality of life for people with dementia," said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Friday.

He highlighted some steps Singapore is taking in this direction, including a pilot programme by the Agency for Integrated Care and Alexandra Health System to establish a dementia-friendly community in Chong Pang.

"They have reached out to community partners, schools, the police and retailers to share with them about identifying the symptoms of dementia and how to provide help and assistance to persons with dementia," he said.

He was speaking at the Alzheimer's Disease Association's 25th anniversary symposium.

In Singapore, an estimated one in 10 people over 60 have dementia, with the actual numbers estimated to grow as the population ages.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 70 per cent of patients.