Driven by the desire to head ‘Back To The Heartlands’ to better support the larger community of people living with dementia, Dementia Singapore’s latest efforts in advocacy and fundraising led to new milestones being realised on 9 September 2023.
Months of planning came to fruition when we were successful in getting fan-favourite pop-rock band Michael Learns To Rock to fly 10,000km from their home in Denmark to Our Tampines Hub to perform a sold-out fundraising concert for a 5000-strong crowd.
It was a spectacle to behold, the sight of the Hub’s Town Square brimming with audiences of all ages hours before the show began.
Before the Danish trio made their appearance, local veteran band Jive Talkin’ showcased their powerful renditions of everyone’s favourite pop and rock hits of the century, warming up everyone’s vocal cords for what was to come in the process.
Then, as planned, at 8pm, Jascha Richter, Mikkel Lentz, and Kåre Wanscher of Michael Learns To Rock made their anticipated entrance to an eruption of cheers. Suffice it to say, the popularity of their hits, many from the 80s and 90s, stood the test of time. Many came with their children; others came with old friends. But most knew and loved their songs.
It all affirmed our efforts, especially when the voices of thousands echoed through the open air, singing along to popular classics such as Paint My Love and Sleeping Child. It was indeed a night to remember.
Said Mr Jason Foo, Chief Executive Officer of Dementia Singapore: “Nostalgia has proven to be a powerful tool in Dementia Singapore’s efforts to engage and support persons living with dementia and their caregivers. Getting a well-known international act to help spread the message of support for Singapore’s fast-growing community of persons living with dementia goes a long way in helping to break down the stigma associated with the condition, which often stems from a lack of awareness and even a discomfort with addressing the issue.”
We are certainly grateful for partners and sponsors who believed in our cause and contributed generously to supporting the dementia community.
Rewind to the morning of the same day and it was our inaugural Family Fiesta that was the talk of the town. From 10am to 3pm, a giant inflatable playground where families could soak in the fairground vibes was in full swing, with free snacks like ice cream, popcorn and candy floss keeping the energy high.
More importantly, strategically placed booths mended by various organisations presented opportunities to learn more about dementia and the various support programmes and services available.
Not surprisingly, this was also where guest-of-honour Mayor Desmond Choo spent a good part of the morning, catching up with his constituency and the social service agency representatives on site.
Veteran radio personalities Brian Richmond and Patrick Kwek also made a special appearance to entertain the crowd.
For a select group of guests, including persons with dementia and their care partners, though, there was a different type of planned engagement—dance workshops conducted by the Totsu-Totsu Dance team from Japan. There’s a unique form of dance therapy that its creator, dancer/choreographer Osamu Jareo, in partnership with Japanese non-profit arts organisation Torindo, have been engaged in with elderly people with dementia and their care partners since 2009.
We are honoured that they were extremely generous with their wealth of experience.
“We noticed how non-verbal and even non-physical exercises, like when the dance required participants to only maintain eye contact, encouraged new lines of communication. We were also able to witness a marked improvement in the mood of some participants who were having an emotionally tough week”, said Bernard Lim, Dementia Singapore’s director of Advocacy and Communications.
It was a day of many firsts for Dementia Singapore. Inspired by the milestones it recorded, it’s safe to say that there will be more exciting outreach initiatives for our community to look forward to. Follow our social media pages (@dementiasingapore) for the latest updates.