Dementia is a condition that causes progressive intellectual decline leading to increasing difficulties in coping with everyday activities. It is not a part of normal aging.
The condition affects the brain, causing the brain cells to die at a faster rate than normal. As a result, the mental abilities of the person with dementia declines. This leads to failing memory, deterioration of intellectual function and personality changes.
In 2018, dementia has affected 50 million people worldwide, and this number is expected to rise to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050 (Source: From Plan to Impact (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2017)).
Locally, according to the Well-being of the Singapore Elderly (WiSE) study led by the Institute of Mental Health in 2015, one in 10 people aged 60 and above may have dementia. This translates to almost 82,000 people in 2018 and the number is expected to exceed 100,000 in a few years’ time.
The financial strain is felt worldwide as dementia is expected to become a trillion-dollar health condition. In 2018, dementia has cost the global economy over US$ 1 trillion. In Singapore, a staggering estimated S$2.8 billion was spent in 2015 locally and this figure is estimated to almost triple by 2030 (Source: Study on monetary cost of family caregiving for people with dementia in Singapore (Lai, Thompson and Magadi, 2017)). This calls for greater awareness and intervention in the fight against dementia.
For more information, you may refer to the Forget Us Not guidebook (in English and Mandarin).
Diagnosis & Assessment
Have you noticed any sudden, inexplicable changes in the behaviour and/or mental state of a loved one? If so, consult your family doctor for an initial assessment. If necessary, the doctor may refer your case to specialists (geriatricians, psychogeriatricians, neurologists and psychiatrists). Diagnosed cases of dementia may then be referred to DSG for psycho-social care and support.
Where To Go For Diagnosis
Diagnosis can be done at the several places, including Khoo Tech Puat Hospital, Institute of Mental Health, Changi General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National University Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.