Dementia is a common illness amongst the older generations. According to The Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), there are approximately 46.8 million people who suffer from dementia, and every 20 years, that number doubles.
In Singapore alone, it is found that one in every ten people above the age of 60 suffers from dementia.
And because our population is ageing rather quickly, Singapore is taking more measures so that we become more dementia-friendly.
According to The Straits Times, it was recently announced on Sunday, 13 October, that the HDBs in Nee Soon South and Chong Pang will be painted from February of next year along with inclusions of icons on the blocks as an attempt to help dementia residents recognise their way home.
According to Dr Phillip Yap, a senior consultant in the department of geriatric medicine at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, the features he suggested would help dementia patients make up for any physical and psychological disadvantages as they may retain the memory of colours and icons better.
Features To Be Implemented
The HDBs will be painted either red, blue or green. This will be similar to how many carparks are usually colour-coded and classified under different zones. The icons that would be placed on the blocks would correspond to the colour the block is painted.
- Red blocks will be linked to a pineapple icon.
- Blue blocks will be linked to a fish icon.
- Green blocks will be linked to a rubber tree icon.
Other than painting the blocks, the block numbers will also be painted clearly on the side of the blocks and on the pillars.
In terms of infrastructural upgrades, there will be more resting areas built and more signages will be put up.
Why Nee Soon South And Chong Pang?
Nee Soon South Grassroots Organisations collaborated with the Agency for Integrated Care, Nee Soon Town Council, KTPH and the [email protected] centre in order to create this project.
After much discussion, they decided to select blocks that were in high-traffic areas near Nee Soon South Community Club and Chong Pang City.
Ms Lee Bee Wah who is the grassroots adviser and Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC mentioned that they were planning for the future in which by 2030, there would be one person suffering from dementia in every block.
As a result, they want to make it such that dementia patients are still able to go about their normal activities like going downstairs for coffee without worrying about finding their way back home.
“We are the first community in Singapore to adopt dementia-friendly infrastructure. I hope our pilot will inspire other communities to do the same,” said Ms Lee.
As our population continues to grow older quickly, we need to take more actions to become a dementia-friendly Singapore. Hopefully, like what Ms Lee said, more communities will adopt similar features so that families no longer need to worry so much when their relative with dementia leaves the house.