Singapore

She designed card game to help granny fight dementia

When her grandmother became forgetful, Mrs Christel Teo, 26, worried she was showing early signs of dementia.

Her grandfather suffered from it.

So Mrs Teo, a marketing professional, was inspired to develop Hua Hee, a card game to engage those with dementia.

She said: "When my grandfather had dementia, he became aggressive and forgetful. It was difficult to care for him as it got worse. We did not want the same for my grandmother."

Hua Hee, which means "happy" in Hokkien, has 22 old-school designs that both the old and young can relate to.

The cards feature brightly-coloured objects like ang ku kueh, pineapple tarts and satay. The game can be played by pairing the same images or by identifying matching imagesto stimulate brain activity.

They are sold via Indiegogo, an online campaign platform.

Dr Richard Goveas, consultant, department of geriatric psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health, told The New Paper: "Once a person has a memory disorder, they're unable to learn new things... So, the best thing is to tap on their long-term knowledge by engaging them in familiar activities and things they can identify with such as from their childhood."

A Health Promotion Board (HPB) spokesman said: "There are ways to reduce the risk or delay the onset of dementia.

"These include staying mentally active, eating healthily, and being socially and physically active."

According to HPB, about 45,000 people had dementia in Singapore in 2015 and the figure is expected to increase to 241,000 in 2050.

Mrs Teo added: "Even though it was tough on my uncle who was taking care of my grandfather, he had family support. People don't realise that dementia affects the whole family, not just the elderly."

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