Making Singapore dementia-inclusive with community help

Attendees at the Alzheimer's Disease Association's Caregivers' Appreciation Gala Luncheon 2019 on Jan 5, 2019.
Attendees at the Alzheimer's Disease Association's Caregivers' Appreciation Gala Luncheon 2019 on Jan 5, 2019.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Over the past year, some 900 seniors and caregivers have benefited from public education programmes aimed at raising awareness of mental health and dementia conditions.

These were carried out, not by the Government, but by the Alzheimer's Disease Association's (ADA) community support team.

It also reached out to people with dementia and their caregivers, to provide allied health services such as counselling and home support.

The initiative was cited by Senior Minister of State for Health and Law Edwin Tong yesterday on how community support plays a critical role in making Singapore a dementia-inclusive society.

With one in 10 seniors aged 60 years and above estimated to have dementia, they and their caregivers will need stronger support, he said at the association's Caregivers' Appreciation Gala Luncheon 2019.

Community partners such as ADA play a critical role in providing information and socio-emotional support to people with mental health conditions and dementia and their caregivers, said Mr Tong.

"Some caregivers have shared with me that not only have they been greatly encouraged by the community support, they have also become more empowered through these programmes," he said.

 
 
 

"They now know how to manage behavioural changes displayed by their loved ones, and are more aware of community resources which they can tap to support them in caregiving."

During the luncheon at Resorts World Sentosa, 150 caregivers were recognised for their dedication and hard work, and enjoyed music and dance performances by National University of Singapore students.

At the event, ADA and charity RHT Rajan Menon Foundation also agreed to collaborate on the foundation's Successful Ageing Project.

The project aims to develop a comprehensive and integrated system of care and support as well as an age-friendly environment for the elderly in the community.

One of the ongoing initiatives under the Successful Ageing Project is the publication of an eldercare guidebook with useful information on ageing, including dementia, home and road safety, and financial wealth management.

"We want to encourage more of such local efforts, where the community pools resources to reach out to caregivers and seniors with dementia who need support," said Mr Tong. "We recognise that being a caregiver is not easy, and it takes a whole-of-society effort to support seniors with dementia to age-in-place in the community."

The guidebook is available for download here. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 06, 2019, with the headline 'Making Singapore dementia-inclusive with community help'. Print Edition | Subscribe