Some 1,600 people from all walks of life, both young and old, participated in Ipoh’s second Memory Walk, held on Saturday, September 28 in conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day. This day is remembered throughout the world on September 21 annually.
Jointly organised by Dementia Society Perak and Universiti Kuala Lumpur Royal College of Medicine Perak (UniKL RCMP), the objective of the 5-km walk was to raise awareness regarding memory impairments, commonly known as dementia, which is often mistaken as part of an ageing process. Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia.
The walk, which was flagged off by Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim, also saw the participation of Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, former Executive Councillor for Health and Dr Esther Ebenezer, Chairperson of Dementia Society Perak. The society was established in October 2010.
UniKL RCMP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dementia Society Perak on August 30, 2013, to adopt the society’s daycare centre currently located at No. 15, Jalan Foo Choong Nyit, Ipoh. The college sends students to the centre daily to help out with the clients. The students get hands-on training in return.
“Dr Esther has done a very good job in creating awareness in dementia. The adoption of the day care centre by UniKL RCMP is an important milestone for the society,” said Mah to reporters. He urged other corporations to do likewise.
Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, disorientation and emotional disturbances. Although dementia is not necessarily an old age disease, the older one is, the higher the risk of dementia.
As Malaysia moves towards a developed nation status with an ageing population, more and more people are found to be afflicted with dementia, especially among women. About 30 percent of those above 80 run the risk of developing the condition. Although there is still no medical cure for dementia, medication and therapy can reduce the speed of deterioration.
The society’s centre is the only dementia daycare centre in Perak. It can accommodate only 15 per day. The society plans to build a new centre in Gunung Lang next year at a cost of RM3 million. This new centre can accommodate up to 50 clients a day.
The Dementia Society Perak, a non-profit organisation, runs the Dementia Daycare Centre on the generosity of the public. The centre gives caregivers respite from taking care of a family member with dementia for a nominal fee of RM20 per day. Caregivers are also given training on how to care for demented patients and how to handle their behavioural problems. Transport is also provided at an additional cost of RM5. Lunch is provided free by Ipoh Specialist Centre and Pantai Hospital Ipoh on weekly rotational basis.
Those requiring information on the Dementia Day Care Centre can contact the society at 05-241 1691.