Singapore

More centres to help those at risk of dementia

About 2,000 more people aged 50 and above who are at risk of dementia will benefit from a programme that aims to prevent the disease.

The Age Well Every Day programme, which has activities such as mindfulness awareness practice and exercise, will be expanded to 40 centres by 2023, up from nine now.

Participants can engage in activities such as music and art therapy, and gardening once every two weeks for 12 sessions, which last two hours each.

Joining the programme is free, but potential participants have to undergo a psycho-social assessment to determine if they have cognitive decline, and have their blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index measured.

Six of the current centres are in Queenstown, Eunos, Tampines Changkat, Bishan North, Hougang and Chong Pang. The other three centres are the Training and Research Academy at Jurong Point, Hannah Seniors Activity Centre in Toh Yi Drive and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery.

Run by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Mind-Science Centre, the programme has helped around 300 seniors since it started in October last year.

To reach out to more volunteers for the programme, a new online portal to conduct training will be rolled out by the end of the year. With the portal, 80 per cent of the training will be conducted online, while the rest will be taught by trainers in classroom sessions.

The programme currently has around 100 volunteers and aims to recruit another 120 by 2023.

Dementia affects 10 per cent of people aged 60 and above, and is expected to become more prevalent with the ageing population. By 2030, 900,000 people in Singapore will be aged 65 and above.

MEDICAL & HEALTH