A Health Promotion Board (HPB) survey shows that awareness of the signs of dementia is lower among Malays than in other races here.
To raise awareness of the importance of mental well-being and to reduce the risk of dementia in the Malay community, HPB is working with the South East Mosque Cluster and the Geylang Serai Community Club to launch a Malay-language version of its popular Nurture Your Mind programme.
The board aims to work with mosques to get 1,000 Malay seniors living in the south-east district to enrol in the programme by next year.
The prevalence of dementia among Malays aged 60 and above is 9.4 per cent, which is higher than the "population prevalence of 5.2 per cent", said Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, MP, grassroots adviser for Geylang Serai.
"Conducting HPB's mental well-being programme in Malay and within a mosque will encourage more elderly Malays to enrol in the programme, since it is conducted in a language and setting the seniors are comfortable with," said Prof Fatimah.
The board's CEO, Mr Ang Hak Seng, said that working through the mosque cluster and the community club, "puts HPB on the right track" in reaching out to Malay seniors and caregivers, who may not be aware of the warning signs of dementia and the ways to reduce its risks.
In the eight-week programme, participants will learn tips to improve mental well-being, as well as understand dementia and depression through activity-based workshops.
For instance, fingerprint art will let them revisit their childhood memories, renew their interest in past hobbies and give them a sense of achievement.
There will be mental stimulation activities to aid memory recall.
HPB will also set up a healthy lifestyle corner in mosques where volunteers, trained to be health ambassadors, can interact with mosque goers on health issues.
It is estimated that some 28,000 seniors here aged 60 and above have dementia.
The number is expected to increase to 50,000 by 2020.
This article was first published in The New Paper.