Youths should care about dementia because it will affect them in the future. It may be the thing that kills them, be it being inflicted with dementia or having to take care of a loved one with dementia. By the time 2020 arrives, the number of dementia patients in Singapore will surge to 53,000 from its current number of 30,000 in 2010. How many grandparents and parents will be inflicted with this neurological disease by then?
While one can try to prevent the onset of such diseases, practical steps must be taken and it starts with the word, education.
Learning what dementia is and what happens when one or a loved one has dementia, are measures we can taketo enlighten the myths surrounding the disease.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), dementia is “[A] word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating.
Their personalities may change. They may lose their ability to solve problems orcontrol their emotions.” Contrary to old wives’ tales, the symptoms that occur do not indicate that the person is crazy or possessed and Singaporeans need to be taught that. Additionally, bubbles of untruths are floating around and they need to be burst with youths needing to know that dementia cannot be passed on through physical contact or sharing a drink.
Eradicating these myths are key to facilitating open discussion about the issue and dissipating the fear about it. More importantly, opening discussion will allow patients and caregivers to feel, “I am not alone,” in their seeminglydim world where they need to find the joy in dementia.
So speak up about dementia and get the facts right because as the physicistchemist Marie Curie once said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
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