Monday 19 January 2015

New dementia day care centre at Ang Mo Kio adds to facilities available for elderly residents

AMK daycare centre for seniors with dementia
New facility will complement others in estate with high proportion of old folk
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Sunday Times, 18 Jan 2015

Ang Mo Kio's newest daycare centre - for the elderly with dementia - is the latest to complement community care facilities already in the constituency, which has a high proportion of elderly residents.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, noted at its official opening yesterday that the number of elderly folk is soaring nationwide.

Three years ago, one in nine Singaporeans was 65 and older. Last year, it was one in eight. In Ang Mo Kio itself, one in six of its residents is aged 65 and above.

"But it's an adjustment which we can make successful," said Mr Lee. "And as we age, we will upgrade our neighbourhood so that Ang Mo Kio remains a community for all ages."

There is already a new family medicine clinic in Ang Mo Kio which was set up in 2013.

A nursing home in Teck Ghee is in the works. And a new and improved Ang Mo Kio polyclinic will be ready by 2018 - housed alongside a senior care centre, so daycare and rehabilitation services can be offered under a single roof.

The dementia daycare centre at Block 123, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6, run by the Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA), fits in squarely in this landscape, providing greater convenience for seniors and their caregivers and offering a suite of daycare, rehabilitation and dementia care services.

Funded by the Ministry of Health, the centre can look after 40 people with dementia daily. They can also take part in programmes such as recreational games and arts and crafts to keep active.

Having its eldercare facilities concentrated around the area will also help AWWA - which has been present in Ang Mo Kio since 1976 - serve elderly residents better, said its chief executive Tim Oei.

AWWA's senior care arm hopes to serve more than 600 clients each year.

Mr Lee said yesterday that an important part of the concept of a community for all ages "is that we must all support one another".

He applauded AWWA, whose efforts also help the community bond - such as by providing opportunities for seniors to help other seniors. An example Mr Lee cited was 82-year-old Ho Sau Lian, who visits elderly folk on weekends and helps with their grocery shopping.

There are seniors like her all over Singapore, Mr Lee said.

"They are happy, smiling, cheerful, sometimes almost dancing, putting us younger ones slightly to shame. They don't think they are old. They tell me, 'I must keep on helping the older ones, the ones that need more help'."

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