INSTILLING A SENSE OF PURPOSE IN PERSONS WITH DEMENTIA

Having a purpose in life is fundamental to one’s well-being. For a person with dementia however, this sense of purpose may be taken away as the condition erases one’s memories. It is not uncommon for dementia patients to lose their independence and become incapable of doing activities they had enjoyed doing previously. With that, feelings of frustration, helplessness and desolation often set in.

It is important that we empower persons with dementia to regain their sense of purpose to uphold or increase their sense of self-worth and well-being. A sense of purpose can be derived from many things: taking care of a pet, gardening, exercising, even cooking for a neighbour. Through individual, person-centred care, the community can provide opportunities for persons with dementia to choose the activities they wish to partake in. Not only can they enjoy the activity, they would also have something to look forward to.

Apex Harmony Lodge, a home in Pasir Ris for persons with dementia, adopts a person-centred care philosophy and aims to instil a sense of purpose and dignity in persons with dementia. Through their ‘Therapy Through Work For People With Young and Early Stage Dementia’ (TTW YES) programme, individuals with young onset (before age 65) and early stage dementia are given the autonomy to decide the type of work they wish to engage in, be it gardening, laundry folding, organising or packing cutlery. This serves to rekindle their passion to work, increase their openness to trying out new experiences, and give them a sense of hope despite their condition. 

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Photo credit: Apex Harmony Lodge TTW YES

Apex Harmony Lodge works with partners for training and employment opportunities for persons with dementia in areas such as food and beverage as well as urban farming. The underlying belief is that people with young onset and early stage dementia are still able to live with a sense of purpose and identity. Partners who share the same vision and would like to join Apex Harmony Lodge in empowering persons with dementia may visit http://www.apexharmony.org.sg/ to find out more.