The Dementia Society Perak (TDSP) has been organising the Memory Walk since 2013 to create awareness among the public on this debilitating illness. Even though organised on a much smaller scale this year, TDSP nevertheless achieved the aim of spreading greater awareness among the general public. This annual event was organised in conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day which falls around the third week of September every year.
This year, the Memory Walk was held at Sultan Abdul Aziz Recreation Park (Polo Ground). As it was a Sunday, many families came in full support of the event. The Polo Ground was bustling with activity with the arrival of registered participants from 6am onwards. The first participant arrived as early as 5am all the way from Batu Gajah on his bicycle! Later we learned that he is a regular since the beginning of Memory Walk.
The ‘warming up’ aerobic session before the walk prepared the crowd for the start of the event which was launched by the Gopeng MCA Division Chief Datuk Albert Chang, who represented the State Executive Councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon. Dr Mah contributed RM3000 to TDSP on that day.
Construction work has already started on a new double-storey Dementia Day Care, costing RM2.8 million, on a half-acre land along Jalan Lang, Off Jalan Padang Tembak. The new centre will be named ‘BebeLEC Villa’ after the donors Dr and Mrs Bebe Lim Eng Cheang.
The current Dementia Daycare, located at Jalan Foo Choong Nyit, can only accommodate about 25 clients. ‘BebeLEC Villa’ expected to be ready by end of 2018, has the capacity to accommodate twice the number of clients. Plans are underway for a residential block adjacent to ‘BebeLE Villa’ to complement the Dementia Day Care Centre.
Ipoh is the fourth largest city in Malaysia with the highest number of people over 65 years, with Penang being the second. According to data released by the United Nations, about 123,000 Malaysians are living with dementia and it is expected to double by 2030. The time has come for us to act now and fast! We cannot afford to be indifferent. We have no time to wait or waste.
Sr Ramayee Sinnasamy