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Singapore’s first dementia advocate under the Dementia Alliance International (DAI)

 

 

It is with pride that ADA shares the story of Singapore’s first dementia advocate, whom we hope will inspire more voices to speak out about their own experiences with dementia.

 

ADA is proud to have George Chong as our first dementia advocate in Singapore under the Dementia Alliance International (DAI).

As part of World Alzheimer’s Month 2018, DAI focused on sharing a series of its members’ stories as part of its ongoing efforts to give a voice to as many people with dementia across the world as possible. Themed ‘#Hello my name is’, the sharing saw many speak out, and raise awareness of what life is like for those living with dementia.

In his sharing, George spoke about his journey to receiving his diagnosis, lifestyle changes he’s made to improve his quality of life, and the challenges which him and his wife live with. In his sharing, he said “Living with changing abilities and losing what used to be automatic and easy functioning is very difficult to get used to, and therefore easy to feel upset about. However, my wife Lynn and I continue to face dementia together, as best we can.”

Lynn Leng, George Chong’s wife, was also a panelist at the World Alzheimer’s Month Conference 2018 in Singapore. On George’s advocacy journey, she said, “Taking the first step to share our personal stories can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Since we shared our story publicly in June 2018, my husband and I have received so many encouraging comments. It really reminds us that people do care. It is our hope that as we take the first step to be a dementia advocate, more will be brave and share their stories. Through this, we can reduce the stigma and increase the awareness and understanding of dementia.”

Kate Swaffer, DAI Chair and Chief Executive Officer said that the alliance is extremely proud to have first-time self-advocates from countries including Singapore.

Kate shares, “When I was diagnosed with younger onset dementia 10 years ago, aged 49, I was advised to go home and prepare for the end. There were very few self-advocates, and it was through the work and courage of the very early pioneers who paved the way. In my case, in particular, the late Richard Taylor empowered me to share my own voice and become an advocate.”

“As one of the eight co-founders of DAI, I now find that as our organisation grows, so does the power of our messages, as we collectively and collaboratively work towards improving the quality of life and outcomes for all people with dementia and our families. Human rights and access to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been a strong global focus for DAI in the last four years We will continue to support and empower others to have a voice, and to live more positively with dementia, not only to die from it.”