SINGAPORE, Sept. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Enable Asia, a local social enterprise focused on advocacy for persons with dementia and their caregivers, kicked off the third instalment of its Enabling Festival today. Supported by Temasek Trust, oscar@sg fund, The Majurity Trust and Agency for Integrated Care, the annual event focuses on building awareness and facilitating discussions around dementia, as well as provides a channel of support and enablement for persons with dementia (PWDs) and their caregivers.
Perceiving dementia in new ways, online
Themed "Do You See What I See", this year’s festival hones in on showcasing the experiences of PWDs and caregivers through innovative and creative platforms. The festival leverages a combination of art – such as dance, music and performance – and science – with interactive talks and panel discussions with industry experts – to foster greater awareness around how PWDs and their caregivers perceive the disease and navigate the world around them.
The three-week long festival will run from 25 September to 16 October 2020. In a first, the festival programmes have also gone fully online to reach the wider community, amid social distancing measures in Singapore. Enabling Festival Artistic Director, Jeremiah Choy, said, "I am most delighted to reprise my role for the third time and see the festival grow from strength to strength. It has been a very challenging year, and because we are going fully virtual, we have also had to grapple with more online technical and technological issues. Thankfully, everyone is full hands on deck and we are happy to roll out a festival that is informative, engaging and fun."
Care for PWDs and their caregivers in a digital post-COVID future
The online festival also comes on the heels of the launch of the East Coast Silver Blueprint, where Minister Heng Swee Keat and the East Coast GRC have committed to setting up a Caregiver Support Network with enhanced digital platforms for seniors and caregivers in need. This will help to increase accessibility to digital resources, as well as healthcare and social services.
As dementia increasingly becomes a growing concern among the ageing population in Singapore, the virtual Enabling Festival also serves as a digital platform to engage PWDs and caregivers, and offer insightful recommendations on how they can guide their rehabilitation and self-care routines in today’s digital age.
(L to R) Mr Daniel Lim (Co-founder, Enable Asia), Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman (Mayor of South East District and Grassroots Adviser to Marine Parade GRC GROs), Mr Danny Raven Tan (Co-founder, Enable Asia)
Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman, Mayor of South East District and Grassroots Adviser to Marine Parade GRC GROs, will grace the Launch of the Enabling Festival as Guest-of-Honour this year. He shared, "As more of our seniors are taking steps to adopt technology and go digital, we are encouraged by social enterprises like Enable Asia, that find innovative ways to enable and empower more of our seniors and caregivers with information and online events. These initiatives will keep vulnerable groups connected with sources of support and healthcare in the community, and their public education efforts ensure their equity in our social fabric as we envision a more dementia-friendly and socially inclusive society as Singapore progresses."
For the first time in this year’s festival, PWDs and caregivers can book private appointments with professional health advisors from St. Luke’s Hospital, should they experience difficulties seeking professional help during the pandemic. Easy exercise routines will also be available through video-on-demand for both PWDs and caregivers to interact and bond, as well as keep mentally and physically active. On top of this, caregivers of PWDs – individuals who may not be professionally trained and are balancing full-time jobs on top of their caregiving responsibilities – can tap on this online channel as a means to reach out to fellow caregivers for support and comfort for their mental wellness needs.
"As sole primary caregivers to our parents with dementia, we, together with a very small support group of fellow caregivers, are keenly aware of the support that caregivers need in order to continue to provide care for their loved ones sustainably. More needs to be done to understand and address this often-silent group in the community, whose responsibilities have weighed more heavily especially during the circuit breaker period," said Daniel Lim and Danny Raven Tan, Co-founders, Enable Asia. "We are honoured to have sponsors and partners in this journey to influence social policy and improve the quality of life for both persons of dementia and their respective caregivers, and even strengthen their place in the social fabric of a close-knit community."
Connecting to seniors and caregivers in their own language
To further expand the reach of the Enabling Festival and engage with senior PWDs directly in their own dialects, programmes have been curated in Hokkien and Cantonese, as well as Malay.
The Festival will open with a slate of archival theatrical shorts in English and different Chinese dialects. In Auntie La Kopi, a panel discussion conducted in Chinese dialect will involve women who have personal experience in caring for PWDs. Another session, Caring for Persons Living with Dementia, will be conducted in Malay.
Other sessions are targeted at youths, in a bid to educate and prepare them for responsibilities as caregivers as their loved ones age. Local personalities like Anita Kapoor, Adrian Pang, Sam Driscoll and more provide their unique perspectives on their experience with PWDs.
Project Care.For.Me: National survey to understand Singaporean attitudes toward dementia
Dovetailing the launch of the Enabling Festival, Rosie Ching, Senior Lecturer of Statistics at SMU’s School of Economics, and her class of SMU undergraduates have partnered with Enable Asia on a nation-wide survey, Project Care.For.Me, to better understand perceptions around dementia. This also comes off the back of a previous survey from 2019, Remember.For.Me, which explored Singapore’s attitudes and awareness towards Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
"The survey last year was a milestone for us in understanding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and our community’s understanding of its effects on what we know is a growing group in ageing Singapore. This has opened up so many avenues for honest discussion on sensitive topics for both PWDs and their caregivers, and we are encouraged to have found new partners in Enable Asia this year who can continue to use this data to fuel positive change in the attitudes of the larger community," said Ching.
With the results of Project Care.For.Me, Enable Asia will be better equipped to define ways and design programmes that will provide much-needed support for caregivers of PWDs.
Register for Enabling Festival 2020: https://enableasia.org/
Access the Enabling Festival 2020 programme brochure in PDF here: shorturl.at/juQV1
Support the Enabling Festival: https://give.asia/campaign/enabling-festival-dementia#/
 GRC stands for group representation constituency, a type of electoral division in Singapore.
About Enable Asia
Enable Asia is a Singaporean Social Enterprise founded by two caregivers to persons with dementia, who are passionate in educating and raising awareness about the caregiving journey and also to enable those living with dementia.
They envision working with an inclusive community to identify problems and developing solutions through various key initiatives such the Enabling Festival to achieve their objectives.
To support the dementia community, please visit: https://give.asia/campaign/enabling-festival-dementia.