'Dementia village' worth trying out here

SINGAPORE - Countries such as Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands are experimenting with "dementia villages". They might be on to something good; just google "dementia village" and one can find quite a bit of news on this.

This leads me to wonder if this is something that can be implemented in Singapore. It is even more possible here as most of us live in apartment blocks.

Imagine an HDB block of different apartment sizes, where dementia patients and their families can live.

This can be a gated apartment block, for the security of the patients, but where family members, caregivers and escorted dementia patients can move in and out freely and safely.

This block should be self-contained, for instance, with a hair salon, cafe and perhaps, a medical clinic.

Geriatric-trained health-care professionals can be stationed there as well.

Such an environment can make life look and feel as normal as possible, without putting additional stress on the families.

I have read that such developments seem to be especially useful for those with early or moderate dementia.

With the first of our baby boomers reaching post-retirement age, this may be the right time to consider this experiment here.

Given that every apartment will have a dementia patient, the level of acceptance of everyone living there will be high.

This is one trial project that the Health Ministry should pursue, and see if it can be something worth considering on an even bigger scale.

Benjamin Goh

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