A Network of Care and Support
In Singapore, persons at risk or living with dementia can be supported by an integrated mental health network that aims to help them live well in the community. This support also extends to their caregivers.
The network brings together health, social, and community care providers who serve persons with mental health conditions and their families. Learn how a caregiver is being supported by this network:
Integrated Northern Dementia Care System
In 2012, the CARITAS Network (then known as “[email protected]” integrated network), comprising Community Outreach Teams (CREST) and Community Intervention Teams (COMIT) and the dementia multi-disciplinary team of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) was piloted to provide person-centred care to the community, clients and their caregivers in the north. Today, it has expanded to include other partners, e.g. primary care providers, dementia day care partners and grassroots organisations, so that there is a continuum of care for their clients and caregivers.
Beyond building and integrating care services, a Dementia-Friendly Community is also set up in Yishun to build an inclusive environment where persons living with dementia and their caregivers will be able to get help and support, thus reducing caregiver stress and fatigue. Persons living with dementia can feel respected, valued, and confident with help within easy reach, and are able to continue to lead independent lives at home and in the community.
Both the CARITAS network and the Yishun Dementia-Friendly Community come together to provide integrated care and local community support for persons living with dementia and their caregivers.
Community Outreach Teams (CREST - Community Resource Engagement and Support Team)
Caregivers may not recognise the signs and symptoms of dementia and where they can seek help. The Community Resource, Engagement and Support Team (CREST) is a community outreach team that serves as a community safety network for people with and/at risk of depression, dementia and other mental health conditions. It supports their caregivers with resources they need to continue to care for their loved ones at home and in the community. In your neighbourhood, you can approach the Community Outreach Teams which are driven by the social service agencies.
Other than raising public awareness of dementia and mental wellness, the Community Outreach Teams (CREST) provide screening to promote the recognition of early signs and symptoms of dementia at individuals’ homes. If you need a listening ear for emotional support or need help to be linked up with other services, they will be able to support you.
Watch how Mdm Hasnah and her sister are being supported by CREST:
Source: Dementia-Friendly Singapore Initiative
Community Intervention Teams (COMIT)
In your neighbourhood, we also have the Community Intervention Teams which are driven by the social service agencies.
The Community Intervention Teams (COMIT) provide needs assessments, counselling and psychosocial therapy for clients and caregivers. An individualised care plan will also be developed for persons living with dementia in collaboration with other health and social care partners. Besides persons living with dementia, COMIT also supports their loved ones with in-depth information about the mental health condition and coping skills to support their caregiving journey.
Learn how Stella and her mother-in-law are being supported by COMIT and the CREST teams:
Source: Dementia-Friendly Singapore Initiative
There are many available care services available to support seniors who require supervision while their caregivers are at work or need assistance caring for them. These services aim to maintain and/or improve the general, physical and social well-being of seniors through therapy. These services also doubles as a place for seniors to socialise and take part in recreational activities.
Day Care Services
There are dementia day care services which provide full day care in a centre-based setting for persons living with dementia. The centres provide structured programmes to improve or maintain the mental and physical well-being of persons living with dementia.
Activities can include:
• Mind stimulating games
• Music therapy
• Reminiscence Therapy
There are many day care centres in Singapore providing General Dementia Day Care and Enhanced Dementia Day Care services. You can find them via the E-care Locator.
The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) has introduced a new programme to encourage mind-body wellness. The Cognitive Intervention Programme (CIP) is multimodal intervention for persons living with mild to moderate dementia that aims to maintain or improve the cognitive function and overall well-being of participants. Through 3-hour sessions, participants can enjoy activities such as physical exercises, cognitive training or stimulation and social engagement. Find out more.
Nursing homes provide long-term residential care support to seniors who need help in daily living and nursing care. There are nursing homes which provide specific dementia facilities catering to persons living with dementia. Find out the list of nursing homes near you.
Respite is important for caregivers. They may take respite by sending their loved ones living with dementia to a day care service or weekend-respite services. Home personal care also provides eldersitting service whereby the care professionals will engage the person living with dementia in activities while the caregiver takes a break.
If caregivers are unable to take time off caregiving duties because their loved one is experiencing sundowning, the Night Respite service is an overnight respite option for caregivers by providing them with much-needed time off at night and ensuring that persons living with dementia are well cared for during this time. Care professionals will engage their loved one in exercises and meaningful activities including cognitive, sensory and reminiscence modalities such as colouring, puzzles and games to meaningfully engage the person living with dementia. Learn more.
Caregivers may also join the Caregiver Support Network to focus on their own self-care, enjoy activities with other caregivers and share experiences. They may email [email protected] if they are keen to join any Caregiver Support Network.