A distressing problem that confronted staff at the RiverSpring Health senior care facility 15 years ago sparked some innovative thinking that has resonated across the world.
A forum on ageing here yesterday heard how many caregivers of dementia patients were deprived of sleep at night.
"The dementia patients couldn't differentiate between night and day, and caregivers couldn't sleep because they were afraid that their mentally ill relative would wake up at night and wander out of the house," said Mr Daniel Reingold, president and CEO of the RiverSpring Health.
That led to the world's first dementia night-care centre, which replicated the facility's day-care programmes and therapies and took in patients for the night, allowing their caregivers at home to sleep more peacefully.
Demand for new and different kinds of old-age services like this could increase as Singapore's population greys. The number of dementia patients aged 60 and above here is tipped to hit 80,000 by 2030, up from 28,000 in 2012.
The night-care centre was one of several unconventional services showcased at the 6th Ageing Asia Innovation Forum 2015 yesterday. Ageing Asia, the forum's organiser, also released the results of a study on the Asia-Pacific region's ageing market potential.
The survey found that Singapore topped the rankings, with its ageing population having the highest capability to spend or be supported by children.
Factor in the long life expectancy, and Singapore's ageing market potential is expected to hit US$45 billion (S$62 billion) by 2020.
"The baby boomers who are turning 60 by 2020 will be expecting a different set of old-age services and products from those available to today's elderly," said Ms Janice Chia, founder and managing director of Ageing Asia.
This article was first published on April 15, 2015.
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