Article from Straits Times Forum Page, 27 June 2017

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The Straits Times
Forum Page
June 27 2017
Challenges  of ageing population and disease

I applaud Mr Peter Tay for sharing his caregiver journey with his daughter – “ST June 19, My special girl: A father shares his journey as caregiver to special needs daughter.”

There are many lessons that we can learn, chief of which is his sheer grit and determination to do something about the situation, much as society then, could have been more supporting. 

What he & his family has done is inspiring.  Singapore needs to continue our efforts in making our people one that is more supportive, empathetic & accepting towards others, regardless of race, social standing, and state of health.  And this needs to start from the family, out. 

As Singapore forges bravely ahead to put together infrastructure and support systems to cope with the consequences of the silver hair tsunami, it is timely for us to continue focussing on fellow Singaporeans who fall prey to the dreaded brain-cell-related diseases such as dementia & Alzheimer.  Our entire society will be impacted – from family members, friends to colleagues, etc. This translates to an inevitable impact on our daily lives – commuting, buying daily necessities, dining, banking, socializing etc.  Family members and care givers will have to be professionally trained. Shopping centre security and retail shop personnel must also go through proper education and training on how to spot, and help those who are ‘lost’ while out of their homes. Workers in offices, factories, etc need similarly be familiarised with managing and working with colleagues who suffer from such illnesses.  Public service personnel, taxi drivers, bus drivers, grassroot/heartland service volunteers –everyone has to be involved.   

Non-profit organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, Singapore ( can play a key role in public education, and related training.

The ‘disruption’ to our society caused by diseases impacting our daily lives is, in this instance, not technology-related.  However, the implications can be similarly, if not more, huge.  

Paul Heng




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