Posted in The Built Environment

A story all too familiar

  I’m on the plane and a man in his forties sits down beside me. He tells me, his name is David and enthusiastically tells me about how he’s going to Sydney to help an aunt. The story is all too familiar, he’s going to try and get his story on “current affairs”. 

His aunt lives alone and her husband had passed away a few years ago. She had worked with a non profit organisation all her life and had a good amount of savings put aside for her retirement. Recently his aunt has issues paying her bills, she’s running out of money. His sister and mother try and help out her, they realise that she has dementia. 

On top of that, for years a man only known as Mr Miller has been attaining weekly payments from his aunt. Amounts ranging from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. 

They have tried going to the police but was turned away, he claims the police feels that it is a civic matter. His aunt does not have a diagnosis of dementia and does not want to see a doctor. Her memory lost is evident and she gets distress easily. She cannot recall how much she has given him but only knows she had helped him out a bit here and there. 

They are at their wits end and they feel there’s no one to help them, not even the justice system. So they are going to try and get their story to the media. I wish him luck and hope that thing will work out for his family. 

It’s sad but it’s happening everywhere, a good friend of mine shared a story of the same plight of a relative in Europe. I’ve experienced it personally as well and it is paralysing. What can you do? 

A story all too familiar. 


Hi, I'm Dr Joanna Sun, Co-author of the Singapore Environmental Assessment Tool. I am very passionate about working towards improving the care of people with dementia, and I hope my work will make a difference.

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