In an effort to build a more inclusive and dementia friendly community in Singapore, Frasers Centrepoint Singapore is in collaboration with Lien Foundation to drive the Forget Us Not campaign, an independent initiative set up since January 2016.
Among the portfolio of malls under Frasers Centrepoint Singapore, Northpoint Shopping Centre, was the first mall that came on board the campaign with the help of Ivan Loh, Forget Us Not’s Campaign Administrator.
Northpoint Shopping Centre works with the community to create a more dementia-friendly community.
He welcomed the support of Cynthia Ng, Northpoint’s Senior Centre Manager, and her team which led to a series of successful talks and training sessions with the centre management staff as well as some of the mall’s retailers. In fact, the staff at Northpoint started cultivating dementia-friendly practices after witnessing several challenging situations at the mall.
With this established relationship and collaborative effort, Ivan and his team are working on the next phase of the initiative, from an increase of talks and training programs for more staff and retailers across more malls under the Frasers Centrepoint Singapore portfolio, to organising roadshows for raising public awareness.
Northpoint’s Centre Management Team during a training session conducted by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
During such sessions, most attendees come away with a better understanding of the symptoms and how to identify it. According to Ivan, these sessions also result in private inquiries from participants who suspect that their loved ones may have dementia. This shows that outreach programmes do to a certain extent create an impact. Through more collaborations, Frasers Centrepoint Malls aims to provide more platforms to increase understanding about dementia.
Dementia is a condition that causes progressive intellectual decline leading to increasing difficulties to cope with everyday activities. It is timely for such a campaign to be run in Singapore which is currently facing a rising number of patients being diagnosed with dementia every month. Statistics reveal 1 in every 10 persons aged 60 years and above will have dementia. At present, there are 45,000 persons with dementia (PWD), and it is projected that this figure will more than double to 103,000 by 2030. Unfortunately, there is no known cure. Medications that are available only help to manage symptoms and slow down the progression but it cannot reverse the condition.
Therefore building a dementia friendly community is a beneficial solution as it looks beyond the scope of medical care and provides a platform to learn and understand the disease, along with tips on how to help and support both patients and family/care givers. This is where the Forget Us Not Vision comes into play as it focuses on building a community of people who are more aware and better equipped to help PWDs when the need arises.
Ivan was happy to be given the opportunity to work with mall operators and retailers, such as those under Frasers Centrepoint Singapore, as many PWD go undiagnosed and may likely spend most of their time at malls and other public spaces. Therefore, it would be useful for such spaces to be moulded into inclusive communities that can support and champion this cause.
We aim to continually create more opportunities for the community to become more caring and equipped to deal with dementia within the community.
To-date, more than 14,000 individuals from about 50 groups, businesses and organisations, including Northpoint Shopping Centre, have already stepped forward to undergo training to become dementia-friendly. Ivan emphasised that this goes beyond numbers as it is meant to bring about a change in mindset in how people understand and relate to dementia, where there is the common misconception that it is a mental illness. Ivan and his team hope that by educating the public about dementia, there will be better understanding and as a result more empathy as well.
With this in mind, Frasers Centrepoint Singapore will continue to support Lien Foundation and the Forget Us Not initiative to create dementia friendly communities.
Artist impression of the soon to be revamped Northpoint Shopping Centre linkway.
Even as Northpoint Shopping Centre begins its transformation as part of the larger Northpoint City, we will continue to encourage new tenants and staff to participate in the Forget Us Not program.
To foster a stronger sense of community among our staff, tenants and shoppers, and to provide a safe and comfortable environment for dementia patients as well as their care givers, lets work together to build more inclusive spaces.
Source: Forget us not
For more information, please visit www.forgetusnot.sg.