SINGAPORE — The Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) is partnering with the People’s Association Kebun Baru grassroots organisations to build a dementia-friendly community through a series of project collaborations.
One of such collaborations is with the Kebun Baru Community Club to pilot dementia-inclusive design efforts, with retro items painted around the blocks as means of wayfinding for Kebun Baru residents with dementia, ADA said in a media release on Monday (21 September).
Henry Kwek, Member of Parliament for Kebun Baru, said that such dementia design initiatives enable those with dementia to navigate their surroundings better, encouraging them to leave their homes and continue thriving in their neighbourhoods.
“By considering a person with dementia’s holistic experience, a consistently more mobility-friendly and dementia-friendly community that instils confidence and motivation in persons with dementia to navigate the neighbourhood independently, can be built,” he said during a Kebun Baru CC event to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day on Monday.
Dementia design in built environment
During the initial stages of the project, ADA had worked with students from the Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Centre in National University of Singapore on a study to identify interventions that can help create an inclusive dementia-friendly community in Kebun Baru.
The constituency has a high population of seniors – two in five of its residents are above age 60.
From the students’ findings and recommendations, several dementia-inclusive initiatives were implemented, such as organising dementia awareness talks, improving wayfinding, and enabling the community through informal activities.
The Kebun Baru initiatives are in line with a global report launched by the Alzheimer’s Disease International to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day. The global body for dementia said that dementia design in built environment is 30 years behind that of the physical disabilities movement.
“We would like to encourage more ageing-in-place, which refers to seniors and people with dementia continuing to live and thrive in their own familiar areas and estates, as opposed to being uprooted and shifted to a nursing home or welfare home,” said ADA chief executive officer Jason Foo.
“The increased focus to improve dementia design in the built environment will be crucial in helping us achieve this.”
Lego mural at Kebun Baru CC
On Monday, Kwek helped complete a 2.6-metre-by-1.6-metre mural made of Lego bricks at Kebun Baru CC to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day. The mural depicts seniors enjoying life with the support of the community, and will be displayed at the community club for a year.
It is presented by palm oil conglomerate Musim Mas Holdings, who has expressed interest in sponsoring the dementia-inclusive projects in Kebun Baru.
The pieces were put together remotely by the stakeholders of the dementia community – including persons living with dementia, families, caregivers, Kebun Baru grassroots volunteers and residents, corporate partners and ADA staff. They were then collected, sanitised and assembled at Kebun Baru CC.
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