Finding out that a loved one is diagnosed with dementia would often result in drastic change for the family as they care and journey with him. Nonetheless, with the appropriate support, caregivers can navigate the new landscape in life with confidence and assurance.
As its annual fundraising effort, St Luke’s Hospital (SLH) is launching its first interactive film featuring the journey of a family after the elderly mother was diagnosed with dementia. In the film titled Always, Mother, the son has to make changes to her care plan as her dementia deteriorates at different junctures. When in dilemma, the family can always find comfort in knowing that their healthcare providers will be there to guide them through available care options.
Inviting the audience to play an active role to influence caregiving plans for the protagonist’s mother who is living with dementia, the hospital seeks to enable viewers to walk in the caregiver’s shoes, and help them establish empathy for persons living with dementia as well as their caregivers.
It was estimated there were more than 210,000 of caregivers in Singapore last year, with about 70 per cent of them aged 40 and above. As Singapore grapples with an ageing society, the number of caregivers among us is expected to increase. The dementia case load is expected to reach 152,000 by 2030. This means that there will be at least 152,000 caregivers for persons living with dementia.
A recent report release by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), based on 2018 Quality of Life (QoL) of Caregivers study, finds that more than one in two of caregivers report they are “burdened” or “barely coping” and have a lower belief in their ability to control their life. In contrast, caregivers who had help reported a higher quality of life.
“We understand that caregivers may find dementia disrupting their life in one way or another. Societal expectation for children to take care of the parents often lead to the default decision to care for them on their own. However, for children to care for their parents on their own amidst other priorities in life, the risk of burnout is real. Through this film, we hope to convey to our viewers that caregivers don’t have to embark on the caregiving journey alone. Comprehensive support system is available in SLH to help caregivers in every step of their caregiving journey,” said A/Prof Tan Boon Yeow, Chief Executive, St Luke’s Hospital.
Care plans are customised based on individual constraints, family settings and resources available to ensure the best care for a loved one living with dementia and their caregivers.
Like what the care coordinator says in the film, there is no right or wrong options, just “what may work in the best interest” of the person living with dementia and the family.
Minister for National Development and Minister-In-Charge of Social Services Integration, Mr Desmond Lee, said at the premiere of Always, Mother, that the film is particularly poignant in this Year of Celebrating SG Families. “Just as our parents had to overcome many challenges to give us a good start in life, we must continue to care for them as they enter their silver years. For some of us, this is a journey made more challenging with dementia… … I urge caregivers to tap on the available support. You are not alone in this journey. As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” It takes a village to care for our seniors too. We can each play our part to extend support to one another.”
How to watch
Always, Mother will be hosted on St Luke’s Hospital’s Youtube channel after the premiere. Interested public may view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMKawnqwmCU.
How to give
St Luke’s Hospital appeals for the generous support of the public to make a donation in aid of our cause. This year, the Hospital hopes to raise $4 million to help our patients in need. Donors may support the fundraising effort in the following ways: