Dementia
"a group of symptoms consisting of memory loss, impaired judgement, disorientation and behavioural changes, which are of sufficient severity to cause loss of function" (Department of Neurology, "Dementia")

  About 20,000 Singaporeans suffer from Dementia (AsiaOne, "Tackling Singapore's Dementia Epidemic"). Dementia often occurs in older age, although it can occur before that.
  Dementia is usually non-reversible, but, if the symptoms are caught and treatment starts early, it can be slowed down, or stopped altogether.

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia


  • Memory loss (that affects day-to-day activities)
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in personality
  • Changes in mood/behaviour
  • Poor/Decreased judgement
  • Difficulty in carrying out familiar tasks
  • Difficulty planning/problem solving

  • Communication problems
  • Confusion regarding time and place

 Treatment for Dementia
  Treatment for dementia often does not reverse or stop it, but it can slow the process down.

  • Intellectually stimulating exercises
  • Regular physical exercise (e.g.: walking)
  • Medication catered towards dementia (to improve symptoms and slow down progression)

  Dementia can be very difficult to live with, for both the sufferers and those around them. Due to dementia, sufferers are often unaware of their actions, and due to their worsened judgement, they are inclined to make poorly thought out decisions. Fortunately, in Singapore, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) acts to protect those who suffer from dementia, among other things.

Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)
  "The Office of the Public Guardian (“OPG”) works towards protecting the dignity and interests of individuals who lack mental capacity and are vulnerable as well as encouraging proactive planning for an eventuality of losing one’s mental capacity." (Office of the Public Guardian, "About OPG")

  The proactive planning mentioned refers to the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
  "A Lasting Power of Attorney ("LPA") is a legal document which allows a person who is 21 years of age or older ('donor'), to voluntarily appoint one or more persons ('donee'), to act and make decisions on his behalf as his proxy decision maker if he should lose mental capacity one day. Donees can be appointed to cover two broad areas: personal welfare as well as property & affairs matters." (Office of the Public Guardian, "The Lasting Power of Attorney")

  Making a LPA can be largely helpful for when and if the time comes that one loses their mental capacity. It can save loved ones a lot of worry and hassle, and can protect them as well. For more information about making a LPA, go to: http://www.publicguardian.gov.sg/PrePlan/HowCanIMakeaLastingPowerofAttorney.aspx.

If you know of somebody who exhibits the symptoms of dementia, or if you notice that you yourself exhibits them, then seek treatment at your nearest doctor/psychiatrist. Remember, early treatment is key!

Citations

AsiaOne (4 March 2010), "Tackling Singapore's Dementia Epidemic",  AsiaOne Health News Story, retrieved from http://www.asiaone.com/Health/News/Story/A1Story20100304-202360.html on 5 July 2012.

Charles P. Davis, MD, PhD, "Is there any treatment for Dementia?", Dementia Symptoms, Causes, Treatments - Is there any treatment for dementia? on Medicine.net, retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/dementia/page14.htm on 5 July 2012.

Department of Neurology, "Dementia ", Dementia - Singapore Health Hospitals and Doctors, retrieved from http://www.singhealth.com.sg/PatientCare/ConditionsAndTreatments/Pages/Dementia.aspx on 5 July 2012.

Health Promotion Board (9 May 2012), "Warning Signs of Dementia",  Warning Signs of Dementia, retrieved from http://hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/article?id=6102 on 5 July 2012.

Office of the Public Guardian (12 April 2011), "About OPG", The Office of the Public Guardian, retrieved from http://www.publicguardian.gov.sg/AboutOPG/TheOfficeofthePublicGuardian.aspx on 6 July 2012.

Office of the Public Guardian (28 May 2012), "The Lasting Power of Attorney", Pre-Plan: The Lasting Power of Attorney, retrieved from http://www.publicguardian.gov.sg/PrePlan/TheLastingPowerofAttorney.aspx on 6 July 2012.