Hang Lung Properties joined YWCA to promote dementia prevention
Dementia is a brain disease that hurts one’s memory, cognitive ability, and even sense of direction. When the situation gets bad, it affects the patients’ daily functioning. It is definitely a long goodbye for the carers. As Hong Kong’s ageing population brings more demented patients, it is important to raise public awareness of the disease. Therefore, YWCA joined hands with Hang Lung Properties to launch a series of workshops, telling the stories of the demented patients and their families. Although the epidemic prevented volunteers from meeting the patients in person, they were kind enough to help make over 100 training kits for the Association’s service users.
The programme started in late August in three phases. Dr. Bernard Kong, Part-time Consultant of the Department of Medicine, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and Ruttonjee Hospital, was invited to start the programme by hosting an online lecture for the volunteers about symptoms and treatments of dementia. Then, Mrs. Gwen Kao, Chairperson of Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease joined in the second session. Mrs. Kao has a profound understanding of the pressure being a caregiver of a demented patient, as she took care of Sir Charles Kuen Kao, who diagnosed with dementia at his late life. She shared how one can communicate with the patients and what the anticipated difficulties are, so that volunteers can have a comprehensive understanding of the disease. Ms. Denise Liu, representative of Ming Yue District Elderly Community Centre, who is certified as a "dementia care planner”, introduced the methods of caring and communicating tips with dementia patients to the volunteers.
As the cause of dementia is currently unknown, and there is no cure, preventing deterioration is a common practice. The Association’s front-line social workers utilise their experience and design a training kit with six tools to help the patients. For example, information board can help demented persons to comprehend the date and weather. They replace the stack of info cards with a spinning wheel, to make it even more user-friendly. After the introduction by the Association’s social worker of Lam Woo Memorial Day Care Centre for the Elderly, volunteers assisted in the making of the training kits, which were then passed to families in need through the Association’s Elderly Service Department, for daily cognitive training at home.