According to the latest Well-being of the Singapore Elderly (WiSE) study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), one in 10 people aged 60 and above in Singapore has dementia. The results of this study, funded by the Ministry of Health and the Singapore Millennium Foundation, which involved about 5,000 elderly and their caregivers over a period of three years, are cause for concern. In 2012, a total of 28,000 Singaporeans above the age of 60 had dementia. This number is expected to rise to 80,000 by 2030, as Singapore’s population continues to age.
Professor Chong Siow Ann, Vice-Chairman of the IMH’s Medical Board (research), who led the study, said: “Our focus now is on how we can use the study to assess if we have sufficient resources currently to meet the challenges facing us today and into the future. In any case, we can also ascertain the factors associated with dementia and raise awareness of the illness among the public.”
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About how to spot dementia
With normal ageing, elderly people may become forgetful and there are many causes for poor memory, but forgetfulness is not equivalent to dementia.
Signs & Symptoms of Dementia:
• Forgetting an entire event e.g. forgetting they had dinner just an hour ago
• Losing the ability to perform everyday tasks such as dressing, eating or bathing
• Becoming restless and more irritable
• Losing their sense of time, place and ability to make decisions
• Becoming less communicative, more reclusive
• Getting lost in familiar surroundings
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About ways to reduce risk of developing dementia
• Exercise regularly
• Keep the mind active by solving puzzles or learning a new skill
• Manage chronic diseases appropriately, such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol
• Build a network of family and friends to socialise with
Did you know…
According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, Singapore has the fourth-best overall life expectancy rate in the world. Women in Singapore can expect to live to 85 and men to the age of 80.
Japanese women have the longest life expectancy in the world at 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore. And Iceland has the longest male life expectancy in the world at 81 years, followed by Switzerland, Australia, Israel and Singapore.