The PAP supports people living with dementia and their caregivers June 16, 2023 You might have noticed Dementia Go-To Points (GTPs) while out and about at train stations, bus stops as well as NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong supermarkets. Their large blue posters featuring a friendly giraffe are easily spotted. Source: SMRT/ Facebook “I have a couple in my estate and that has been wonderful,” shared Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam this previous week (Jun 9) when NTUC Learning Hub and United Overseas Bank launched their staff training programme for helping wandering people with dementia. “GTPs serve as resource centres which provide information on dementia, and act as safe return points to assist lost persons living with dementia to reunite with their family or return home safely,” she explained about the 550-plus dementia GTPs islandwide. You may have also seen Kindness Seats at your local train station too, bright and blue so that people with dementia do not get into accidents bumping against them: Source: SMRT /Facebook These GTPs and Kindness Seats are part of how the PAP Government includes people with dementia, as well as their caregivers, in the everyday life of Singapore. We need to talk about this. One in 10 people aged 60 and above live with dementia in Singapore (that means 152, 000 Singaporeans by 2030), and a 2019 survey found that three in four people with the condition felt ashamed and rejected. Removing the stigma is crucial if we want progress in this area. HAPPY, CREST and other PAP efforts Two other ways in which the PAP Government is tackling dementia is through scaling up nationwide the Healthy Ageing Promotion Programme For You (HAPPY) as well as the number of Community Resource Engagement and Support Teams (CREST). HAPPY has regular shared workouts as well as cooking/ craft/ nutrition/ games activities that promote seniors maintaining a healthy body and mind. CREST provides dementia education, basic emotional support and supports caregivers with linkages to health and social services. “We aim to increase the number of teams to 73 by March 2025, up from 61 currently,” said SPS Rahayu of CREST. All these GTPs, seats and programmes, in fact, come under the PAP Government’s Refreshed Action Plan for Successful Ageing for helping persons living with dementia age well in the community and enabling them to lead fulfilling lives. Source: Rahayu Mahzam / Facebook They are planned and in place not just because the PAP is adapting to Singapore’s 2026 transition to a “super-aged” society where 21 per cent of Singaporeans will be aged 65 years and above. They are also because seniors matter to the PAP — nine Ministries are acknowledged in the Refreshed Action Plan, and leaders in the PAP Seniors Group believe that as Singaporeans age, we must remain healthy and connected, financially stable, and be able to live with purpose and dignity. They are additionally happening during a time when PAP MPs are standing together with the United Nations as well as Singapore’s seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. And also less than a month before PAP MP Seah Kian Peng will speak in Parliament to amend the Maintenance of Parents Act so that aged parents and their children have stronger financial protection. Source: Rahayu Mahzam / Facebook Ageing and its changes are inevitable for everyone. But these PAP efforts point to another inclusive truth for Singaporeans: That while the journey of life can take people onto unexpected paths and untoward detours, not all who wander need be lost.