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Raising awareness about dementia among elderly Malays

The prevalence of dementia among Malays aged 60 years and above is higher than the population prevalence of 5.2 per cent. And it is the highest among the major ethnic communities.

Raising awareness about dementia among elderly Malays

Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, grassroots adviser for Geylang Serai and Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC at the event.

SINGAPORE: The prevalence of dementia among Malays aged 60 years and above is higher than the population prevalence of 5.2 per cent. And it is the highest among the major ethnic communities.

It is estimated that about 28,000 seniors aged 60 and above live with dementia in Singapore currently, and this number is expected to increase to 50,000 by 2020.

A survey conducted by HPB revealed that the awareness level of the signs of dementia is relatively lower among the Malay residents in comparison to others.

So to raise awareness of the importance of mental well-being and reduce the risk of dementia among the Malay community, HPB is working with mosques and the Geylang Serai Community Club (CC) to launch the Malay version of its popular Nurture Your Mind programme.

Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, grassroots adviser for Geylang Serai and Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC said the partnership with HPB will empower the Malay community, as it reaches out to each other and helps one another.

At the launch of the programme on Saturday, Professor Fatimah added that conducting HPB's mental well-being programme in Malay and within a mosque will encourage more elderly Malays to enrol in the programme, since it is conducted in a language and setting the seniors are comfortable with.

HPB's CEO Ang Hak Seng said it is important that seniors know that dementia is not part of normal ageing, and teach them the various ways to stay mentally active.

Mr Ang noted that working through the South East Mosque Cluster and Geylang Serai CC puts HPB on the right track as it enables them to reach out effectively to Malay seniors and caregivers who may not be aware of the warning signs of dementia and the ways to reduce its risks.

HPB is also helping to set up a Healthy Lifestyle Corner in mosques where people can visit to learn about health issues or participate in health programmes.

HPB will also train mosque volunteers to be Health Ambassadors, who will be an integral part of the Healthy Lifestyle Corner as they interact with mosque goers.

These Health Ambassadors will promote a healthy lifestyle, provide basic health advice and facilitate health promoting programmes such as healthy supermarket trails and cooking classes to teach Malays to cook traditional Malay cuisine using healthier ingredients.

By next year, HPB aims to work with the 13 mosques and get a thousand Malay seniors living in the South East district to enrol in the Malay-language Nurture Your Mind programme.

Source: CNA/cc/ck

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