Young shouldn't forget elderly dementia patients
By 2050, about 241,000 Singaporeans will have dementia, a five-fold increase from the current 45,000 sufferers, says the Health Promotion Board (HPB).
But there is still a lack of awareness among the younger generation because they do not think they will suffer from dementia, healthcare experts told The New Paper.
This apathy could be a problem as Singapore tries to be a dementia-friendly country.
The Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA) and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital organised a free community health forum yesterday in conjunction with World Alzheimer's Day.
ADA chief executive Jason Foo told TNP: "We find the younger generation is less keen to know about the condition because they don't think it's something that will affect them."
Last year, the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) Neuroscience Clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital saw 179 patients with young-onset dementia, which affects those aged 65 and below. This is a five-fold increase from 2011.
"It's quite unusual for someone below 65 to get dementia, but the trend is moving towards that," said Mr Foo.
HPB said Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia in Singapore. The progressive brain disorder usually affects the elderly, but more young patients have been diagnosed with it recently.
Ms Janet Bay, 37, a case manager at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital who spoke at the forum, told TNP that young-onset dementia is rising here, with her youngest patient aged 55.
Mr Reuel Yeow, 32, and his wife, Ms Gracia Choo, 26, attended the forum to find out how to help the elderly suffering from dementia in their church.
Ms Choo said: "We hope to share the knowledge with the church community."