Family of Wisdom – Caring for persons with dementia and their caregivers

Dementia is a chronic disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury. The estimated number of persons living with dementia in Singapore was 45,000 in 2015. This number is projected to increase to 103,000 by 2030.*

The Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) provides personalised daycare for persons with dementia, and offers support to their caregivers. With a long waiting list for dementia day care, the ADA came up with an initiative called Family of Wisdom (FOW) to address the need.

In the Family of Wisdom, a group of persons with dementia and their caregivers would gather to interact and engage in various activities such as memory games, baking, craft, painting, physical exercises and occasional outings. Persons are grouped according to their stage of dementia, spoken language, age, gender, educational profile and interest. The goal of the programme is to improve the clients’ well-being as some of them would become depressed and apathetic due to their cognitive impairment.

To run the programme, ADA needed funding to create an environment that was safe and conducive for persons with dementia and their caregivers. Facilitated by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) stepped in to provide funding for the operating costs of the Family of Wisdom at Bendemeer.

ADA piloted the Family of Wisdom in September 2013 with 15 clients. Today, the programme serves some 100 clients through 12 sessions conducted on a weekly basis.

A caregiver shared that his loved one looked forward to attending the FOW programme. As for himself, he appreciated having the time to sit down and chitchat over a cup of coffee, comforted by the fact that he was not alone in his caregiving journey.

(*Source: Alzheimers Disease International, Dementia in the Asia Pacific Region, Nov 2014)

Photos: Alzheimer’s Disease Association

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