Dementia Programme Gives Renewed Hope
79-year-old Mdm Hong Chin Lien was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease following her daughter, Janice Nua’s concern about Mdm Hong’s repeated questions and disorientation in familiar places. Janice was helpless when she was told by the doctors that the disease has no cure.
In March 2014, Mdm Hong was referred to the Alzheimer’s Disease Association’s (ADA’s) Family of Wisdom (FOW) programme, which is funded by the Tote Board Community Healthcare Fund. The programme addresses the needs of family caregivers and their loved ones with dementia, offering them
respite, social support, and basic dementia care training. Janice and her siblings took turns to bring
their mother to a centre in Tiong Bahru every Friday afternoon to attend weekly sessions.
FOW is piloted after a programme in Taiwan which gathers caregivers and persons with dementia in a conducive setting. They would meet in ADA to interact and be engaged in a combination of cognitive stimulating, physical maintenance and individualised activities.
Janice shared that having caregivers present during sessions has allowed her and her siblings to “understand better how we can continue to reach out and engage my mother at home at varying stages
of her illness”. She also got to see her mother laugh during the sessions, which spurred her and her siblings to continue with the programme.
Mdm Hong Chin Lien and family
Through the sessions, Janice and her siblings made an interesting discovery that their mother enjoyed handson arts and crafts sessions, especially in painting. They started to get “Paint By Numbers” kits for their mother, initially to occupy her time at home, and were surprisingly pleased that this new hobby had a
big positive impact. Through this activity, the family observed that their mother not only painted according to the numbers in the kits but also painted her pet dog, Toto, in every corner of her paintings.
Mdm Hong’s family saw that through painting, she focused better and her self-esteem increased when
her paintings were admired by family and friends. They also noticed that her new hobby made her less
frustrated with her illness. Janice now sees hope in her mother’s continued care and is happy to “see the
mother she used to know”.
"Enjoy and treasure each current moment with your loved ones and continue to reach out to them. Keep yourself positive and know that every little thing you do for and with them makes a big difference to them today. Most importantly, spend meaningful time with your loved ones as this is most important to them."
- Janice Nua, Mdm Hong’s daughter
Funding affordable and accessible healthcare
The Tote Board Community Healthcare Fund (TBCHF), which is managed by the Agency for Integrated Care, was set up in 2009. It supports programmes that provide enhanced healthcare delivery, especially in the community, whilst catering to a growing ageing population and the shifts in demand from acute to preventive care and immediate long-term care.
TBCHF also supports the building and strengthening of infrastructure, capabilities and processes to deliver home- and community-based care. Since its inception, Tote Board has committed $230 million to TBCHF and thus far, it has seeded more than 200 projects, including the Family of Wisdom programme.