St John Singapore's first dementia daycare centre meets growing need

Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee (standing, second from right) speaking to seniors at St John Singapore Dementia Centre yesterday, when the centre was officially launched.
Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee (standing, second from right) speaking to seniors at St John Singapore Dementia Centre yesterday, when the centre was officially launched.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

St John Singapore has opened its first dementia daycare centre to cater to a growing need for such services amid a rise in the incidence of the disorder.

The centre, located next to the organisation's headquarters in Beach Road, was officially launched by Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee yesterday.

The $3 million St John Singapore Dementia Centre features an outdoor garden, a karaoke area and a photo wall with old pictures of Singapore.

St John Singapore, previously known as St John Ambulance Singapore, is a non-profit organisation traditionally known for providing ambulance services and first aid to the community. Its services will expand to focus on the elderly with this dementia daycare centre.

Commending St John Singapore for serving dementia patients and their families, Mr Lee said: "This daycare centre will provide much-needed respite for many caregivers who face heavy responsibilities managing and caring for their loved ones with dementia daily, as well as assure them that their loved ones are appropriately cared for with dignity and respect."

The three-storey building was completed at the end of 2017 and started operating in April last year. It has space for physical and cognitive activities, as well as a training area for staff.

The care centre now serves 15 seniors with dementia. It can serve 30 people, and may be expanded to accommodate more if needed.

It costs about $12 a day after subsidies - or $60 a day without subsidies - to send a senior with dementia to the centre.

Mr Albert Choong, chief executive of St John Singapore, said: "With dementia numbers rising, we hope to be able to expand our services to help the elderly with the daycare centre. The community needs it."

 
 

Dementia is a general term for the set of symptoms associated with cognitive decline caused by different diseases, of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common.

According to the Alzheimer's Disease Association, around 82,000 people in Singapore are affected by dementia. The number is expected to rise to more than 100,000 by 2030.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'St John Singapore's first dementia daycare centre meets growing need'. Print Edition | Subscribe