People sometimes mix up talking about dementia as though it is part if normal ageing. It is not. Affecting one in ten Singaporeans over 60, it is a neurological condition characterised by gradual or progressive intellectual decline including impairment of memory function and personality changes eventually leading to losing ones ability to cope with daily activities. A study done in 2015 estimated about 82,000 people suffer from dementia in Singapore.
Memory loss is often associated with dementia but how is that different from just getting “old and forgetful”? There is a difference. If you cannot recall events that took place in the distant past like several years ago, it is quite normal if you are over 65. If you cannot remember recent conversations that happened just hours or days ago, then it is likely not normal. Likewise, if you cannot remember acquaintances that you just met is normal. Not remembering your good friend or close family members is not.
If you need answers about dementia, MOH created the Dementia-Friendly Singapore initiative which is supported by the Agency for Integrated Care(AIC). Visit their website built for this purpose at http://www.dementiafriendly.sg – written in easy to understand language. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Singapore Silver Line 1800-650-6060. The government is investing a lot of resources to educate and support this problem as part of the ageing tsunami in Singapore!
Download the AIC- “Knowing Dementia: Toolkit for Eldercare Providers” pictured above.