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Have you or your loved one been living with memory loss for some time? Have you been concerned about whether you or your loved one has dementia? A diagnosis may help address these concerns and reduce any anxiety you may have regarding these symptoms your loved one is experiencing.

Facing Dementia: Do I Have Dementia? (Ep 1)

Source: Channel News Asia

Documentary tracks individuals who have noticed differences and changes to their minds and want to find out why, and shows the process of undergoing tests for dementia.

Getting a diagnosis is an important first step for both your loved one living with dementia and yourself. It not only provides an explanation to the symptoms your loved one has been experiencing, but can accelerate the process of treatment, seeking professional support and care, and planning for the future.

Gain access to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options

While there are no available treatments that can reverse the cognitive decline that comes with dementia, there are still a variety of medications and psychosocial interventions that can help slow down the decline and help your loved one maintain their quality of life for as long as possible. Research has also shown that treatments tend to be most effective in the early stages of dementia.1

Begin seeking out support services and financial schemes that are suitable for your loved one living with dementia and yourself

There are a variety of programmes available for both persons living with dementia as well as caregivers:

  • A Network of Care and Support
  • Community Outreach Teams (CREST – Community Resource Engagement and Support Team)
  • Community Intervention Teams (COMIT)
  • Day Care Services
  • Nursing Homes
  • Respite Care

Find out more.

Additionally, caring for persons living with dementia may incur significant medical care costs. Fortunately, there are several financial schemes you may look into to help ease the financial burden and aid you in your financial planning:

  • Seniors Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF)
  • Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)
  • ElderShield
  • CareShield Life
  • Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the
  • Elderly (IDAPE)
  • ElderFund
  • MediSave Care
  • Caregiving Training Grant (CTG)

Find out more about financial schemes here.

It is important to note that the eligibility criteria for these services and subsidies often include being formally diagnosed, amongst other factors. This is to ensure that these aids are provided to those who are in need of them. It is also ideal to include your loved one in making these decisions when they still have the capacity to make informed decisions.

Help your loved one make the necessary lifestyle adjustments that will enable them to live well with their dementia

If your loved one is still working, they may have to think about potentially reducing their work hours, reviewing their current responsibilities, or speaking with their employer about making other reasonable adjustments at the workplace. In some cases, major career adjustments, such as changing jobs or stopping work completely, may have to be made.

The both of you can also discuss potential safety issues, such as driving or wandering, ahead of time.

Plan for the future of both your loved one and yourself

Following the diagnosis, it is important to review current legal, financial, and care plans, among other important matters while your loved one still has the capacity to make decisions for themselves. It is important to empower your loved one to, through discussions with family and care professionals, determine what arrangements they would prefer during each stage of their dementia. Doing this will also give both you and your loved one peace of mind and prevent future disagreements within the family.

Learn more about advance care planning here.

Loved ones will be better able to support the person living with dementia

Before a clear diagnosis is made, it is likely that you and your loved one may find it difficult to make sense of instances of memory lapses, communication problems and personality changes, which had not been common occurrences before. This lack of understanding often results in frustration and confusion, as both parties may not know how to deal with these changes.

However, a clear diagnosis allows for the realisation that these incidents are, in fact, symptoms of dementia. This makes it easier for your loved one, friends and family, to better understand your loved one’s condition as well as the challenges that come with it.

Learn more about the needs of persons living with dementia here.

Read on to find out about where to get a diagnosis, and how to start a conversation about getting a diagnosis.

Additional Resources

Ask the Expert: Do I Have Dementia? Where to Seek Support?

In this video by the Agency of Integrated Care, watch Emily Ong, Dementia Advocate, share her story on the motivations of getting a diagnosis.

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  1. Prince, M., Bryce, R., Ferri, C., World Alzheimer report 2011: the benefits of early diagnosis and intervention. Alzheimer’s Disease International (2011).

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