With dementia being a growing problem in Singapore’s ageing society, a concert supported by the NUS Mind Science Centre (MSC) was held on 28 October to raise awareness about the experiences of people living with the condition and the impact on their caregivers and family. “Remember Me” traced the emotional journey of Amah Lucy as she struggled to come to terms with dementia and its consequences for her family and sense of identity.
The theatrical music performance comprising songs, drama and educational dialogues featuring NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Professor Kua Ee Heok — a professor in Psychiatry and Neuroscience as well as a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at NUS Psychological Medicine — was written by NUS alumnus Mr Edgar Liao. The lead character, Amah Lucy, was played by veteran actress Catherine Sng, whose stage and television repertoire includes a role in Channel 5’s Growing Up.
Before the concert held at the Esplanade, the 1,100 attendees took in an exhibition showcasing research studies conducted by MSC. These include Age Well Everyday (AWE), an evidence-based volunteer driven community programme that aims to reduce the risk of dementia in senior citizens through health education, mindful awareness and physical exercise. AWE is based on the research findings of the ongoing 10-year Jurong Ageing Study, which looks at how genetic, biological, physical, social and environmental factors influence the elderly.
Such efforts to raise community awareness and support about mental health issues in Singapore are much welcome as the country is projected to be ageing faster than any other society in the world by 2050, with mental disorders being one of the largest contributors towards early death and disability.
One in 10 people above the age of 60 in Singapore has dementia, according to the Institute of Mental Health. For those above the age of 85, the proportion goes up to 50 per cent. The number of people with dementia in Singapore is set to rise, from about 82,000 cases in 2018 to beyond 100,000 in 2030.