Meet #DespiteDementia Beneficiaries
Both of these beneficiaries' profiles are actually the ‘stars’ of ADA’s awareness campaign called #DespiteDementia, which seeks to show that despite living with the condition and having turbulent times, people with dementia and their families are still able to live life to the fullest and to the best of their abilities.
“The Power of Family”
Now starring in ADA’s new video titled “The Power of Family”, the Lims hope to share their story with more people and reduce the dementia stigma.
“My family has been stigmatised in restaurants, such as when my dad takes a bit longer to order his food. It’s these kinds of small acts – the whispers or the impatience – that we need to fight against,” said Daniel.
“Despite dementia, my dad is still very active. He does all his daily assisted living like preparing his meals, exercising and his favourite hobby, singing!” said Daniel.
Mr Peter Lim
Nestled in an old estate along Kent Road, many neighbours are familiar with a small brown poodle curiously roaming around the block and excitedly sniffing new guests.
The dog belongs to none other than the Lim family. Mr Peter Lim has lived in the estate with his loving wife, Mdm Tan Quee Eng, and their son, Mr Daniel Lim, for the past 40 years. And just like Aki the poodle’s wanderings, his owner Peter, who has lived with dementia for the past ten years, also tends to get lost in the neighbourhood. However, both their sightings have been embraced by the community.
“Back in 2009, I suspected that daddy had dementia when he started forgetting his keys, his wallet, and then one day he started accusing me of stealing his money. So I just thought it was time to get him checked,” said his son Daniel, now aged 39.
“The first thing that made me think I had dementia was that I seemed to do things but I would forget. Things that I did yesterday, sometimes I remember, sometimes I don’t. But things that happened 40 to 50 years ago, I remember clearly,” said Peter, reflecting on his initial reaction to his diagnosis.
But Life had even more in store for the Lim family. In the same month in 2009 that Peter was diagnosed, Quee Eng was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She had to undergo a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, and it was a difficult few years for the single-income family.
Looking back, Daniel emphasises that it was sheer grit and desire to survive as a family that got them through the years. It also greatly helped having a close-knit, dementia-friendly community of neighbours who provided emotional support for the family.
Mr Rosli Anjang Al Faqir
Mr Rosli Anjang Al Faqir, now aged 56 years old, is diagnosed with mixed dementia (young onset dementia and Lewy Body dementia). He was diagnosed in 2014 at just 50 years old. He has a supportive wife, Mdm Sarima Mohd Tajudin, 55 years old, and is the primary caregiver to him. Together, they have three other children, the eldest daughter (31 years), son (29 Years) and youngest daughter (26 years).
Mr Rosli joined ADA through its Voices for Hope programme, which recruits, teaches and inspires persons with dementia and their caregivers to take a stand, step out of their comfort zone and become a self-advocate for the dementia care. Since graduating from the programme in Nov 2019, Anjang has been doing self-advocacy through word of mouth, on his social media page. He is truly passionate in spreading the word about dementia, especially in the Malay community where he feels the issue is still regarded as a taboo, and hopes that more people can understand more about those living with dementia.
Through ADA’s guidance, Anjang has emerged a strong advocate and continues to speak up in his community, at his mosque and with his friends. He is also a firm believer that in order to reduce the negative stigma, the language we use is important, such as not referring to those with dementia are “crazy” (in Malay “gila”) or “senile”.
Those around him (friends, neighbours and even shopowners/ at coffeeshops) are aware of his condition and would help him out whenever necessary. He has been lost before but was able to get back home through the help of the community. He hopes to leave a legacy, including being part of a show production that is acted by persons with dementia and their caregivers – to really show that despite dementia, those living with dementia can still dream big, and make an impact.