Living with dementia

Dementia at 58

A series of losses: of mind, of memory, of identity, perhaps eventually of life - that is the familiar trajectory of dementia. But Steven Lau does not want to go gentle into that good night
Steven's eldest daughter Desiree, 36, throwing rice at her parents, sister Jessica and brother-in-law Brandon, 29, on Nov 9 last year.
Ms Wong Lai Quen keeping her husband Steven Lau apprised of the proceedings of their youngest daughter Jessica’s marriage solemnisation in Sentosa on Nov 9 last year. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Steven’s eldest daughter Desiree, 36, throwing rice at her parents, sister Jessica and brother-in-law Brandon, 29, on Nov 9 last year.
Steven’s eldest daughter Desiree, 36, throwing rice at her parents, sister Jessica and brother-in-law Brandon, 29, on Nov 9 last year. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Steven and Lai Quen on their wedding day on March 24, 1983. The couple have three daughters.
Steven and Lai Quen on their wedding day on March 24, 1983. The couple have three daughters. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE LAU FAMILY

A series of losses, of mind, of memory, of identity - perhaps eventually of life. That is the familiar trajectory of dementia. But Steven Lau does not want to go gentle into the good night, and the community walks with him in his quest to find a new voice as an advocate. Over the past eight months, he opens up to Insight on his life.

They have been happily married for 37 years. In the past five years, however, a third party has intruded.

The hanger-on is, at his best, an inconvenience, and, at his worst, a monster. He sticks closer than a lover to Steven Lau, who had no choice but to take him along to the wedding lunch for the youngest of his three daughters, Jessica, at an upscale hotel in Sentosa.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 24, 2020, with the headline 'Dementia at 58'. Print Edition | Subscribe