SINGAPORE – Previously when Mr Bryan Tan encountered a customer who might have dementia at the FairPrice Xtra branch in Ang Mo Kio Hub where he works, he would be unsure of how to approach or help the person.
The 44-year-old department manager has since gone through dementia awareness training conducted by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and Dementia Singapore in August 2022.
“The training taught us what to look out for, what to do and what to say when we encounter someone in our store who might be living with dementia,” he said.
“We are then able to spot the symptoms and signs of dementia and use the right approach and care towards the customer.”
Mr Tan is one of at least 1,000 staff from two supermarket chains – FairPrice and Sheng Siong – who have undergone such training since July 2022.
More than 200 outlets from the two chains have also been designated as dementia Go-To-Points (GTPs).
They will complement existing ones in transport nodes such as MRT stations and bus interchanges.
The GTPs serve as a safe return point where members of the public can take a person living with dementia if they appear to be lost or are unable to remember their way home, so that they can be reunited with their caregivers.
According to AIC chief executive Tan Kwang Cheak, supermarkets and train stations are two of the five key sectors that it has identified as being able to play a part in helping those living with dementia in the community.
Rounding out the list of key sectors are the building, banking and finance, as well as the arts and leisure sectors.
He said: “These sectors were selected as they can play a part in making positive changes to enable persons with dementia to live well in the community.”
Speaking at an event to launch the #DementiaFriendlySG Movement on Sunday at Bedok Square, Mr Tan called for individuals, corporations and community partners to play their part to become more dementia-friendly.
Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli, who was at the launch, said he hopes the campaign will lead to more dementia-friendly communities, which are equipped so that people with dementia can live as independently as possible.
A memorandum of understanding between AIC and Dementia Singapore was also signed on Sunday to spur collaboration and explore joint efforts to meet the needs of people with dementia here.
Ms Alison Lim, who was diagnosed in 2016 with young-onset dementia, is happy to hear that more corporations are coming on board with dementia-friendly initiatives.
The 65-year-old said: “This is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done to actively engage those living with dementia.
“There are many different individuals who have different needs, so to keep them from deteriorating, these corporations can develop more programmes and foster more interaction, which helps build better awareness and understanding too.”