Another Fulfilling Learning Journey to ADA

If you were a former SI member or a frequent lurker of this blog (hello!), you would’ve remembered that we visited the Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) New Horizon Center in Toa Payoh roughly one year ago. ADA is a voluntary welfare organisation that seeks to reduce the stigma by increasing awareness and understanding of dementia. They do this by working with the community to create a dementia-friendly society. Moreover, they also maintain a daycare for people with dementia as well as a myriad of other services such as counselling and support groups.

Hence, in an effort to make our volunteer projects more sustainable and for our new members to better understand and empathise with people with dementia, we headed down to ADA again to volunteer for another daycare session. 

Despite only volunteering for a few hours, it was still an enriching and fulfilling session for all of us. It presented us with an opportunity to engage with the elderly with dementia through various games and activities. For me, one of the most interesting activities would be the morning routine activity. Every morning, the centre staff would announce the day’s date, month and year, and the address of the daycare centre. They reiterate this a few times in different languages and dialects and have the elderly repeat it too. This rather simple routine really left a mark on me as it made me realise how small things like repeating the dates could make a significant difference in slowing the onset of dementia. 

We also met with a few challenges during the session. Like our last volunteering session, it was mentioned in that language barrier was a significant challenge. Most of the elderly in the centre spoke in Chinese dialects, which made it hard for us to communicate with the elderly. However, some of us still managed to have meaningful conversations with some elderly. 

In all, the trip down to ADA enabled our new members of SI to understand the struggles and experiences of people with dementia. We hope that through the insights gain from this experience, we would be able to successfully move forward onto the next phase of our project: recreating the D’Experience @ UTown.