Living with dementia

'One day, perhaps, I will no longer hear his voice'

Lai Quen, during the couple's talk to NUS students last November, acting out an incident where Steven had punched her brother-in-law. Lai Quen in tears after Steven presented her with a bouquet of flowers after a sharing session at the National Libra
Steven hosting a Memories Cafe event for persons with dementia, and their caregivers, at an eatery in Jewel Changi Airport last October. He is seen here helping out Mr George Chong, 49, who has early onset dementia, with lyrics to a song the participants are singing. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Steven hosting a Memories Cafe event for persons with dementia, and their caregivers, at an eatery in Jewel Changi Airport last October. He is seen here helping out Mr George Chong, 49, who has early onset dementia, with lyrics to a song the particip
Steven walking to a hawker centre near his home in Bedok last December. He is a familiar sight in his neighbourhood, where he has lived for 23 years, and people there know about his condition. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Lai Quen, during the couple's talk to NUS students last November, acting out an incident where Steven had punched her brother-in-law. Lai Quen in tears after Steven presented her with a bouquet of flowers after a sharing session at the National Libra
Steven is a familiar sight in his neighbourhood, where he has lived for 23 years, and people there know about his condition. For example, the “uncle” at the coffee shop makes him teh tarik with less sugar as he has diabetes. Other shop owners keep an eye out for his whereabouts and keep his wife Lai Quen informed. ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN
Lai Quen, during the couple's talk to NUS students last November, acting out an incident where Steven had punched her brother-in-law. Lai Quen in tears after Steven presented her with a bouquet of flowers after a sharing session at the National Libra
Lai Quen, during the couple’s talk to NUS students last November, acting out an incident where Steven had punched her brother-in-law. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Lai Quen, during the couple's talk to NUS students last November, acting out an incident where Steven had punched her brother-in-law. Lai Quen in tears after Steven presented her with a bouquet of flowers after a sharing session at the National Libra
Lai Quen in tears after Steven presented her with a bouquet of flowers after a sharing session at the National Library last December. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

From temper tantrums to false accusations, Steven and Lai Quen share intimate details of their struggle

On a weekday last year, the couple made their way to the front of a room filled with students.

Getting from their home in Bedok to King Edward VII Hall at the National University of Singapore (NUS) had its travails.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 24, 2020, with the headline ''One day, perhaps, I will no longer hear his voice''. Print Edition | Subscribe