“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
– Hubert H. Humphrey
Appears that single bedrooms for people with dementia in nursing homes are considered a luxury in Singapore.
This is a brilliant article by Dr Philip Yap and Dr Gerald Koh, and Singapore needs a serious conversation about how we can respectfully treat our elders with dignity.
How do want to care for our loved ones when they grow older? Singaporeans echo the fact that nursing homes are restrictive, institutionalised and lack personal care (Wee et al. 2015). Do we really want anyone we love to live the last years of their life an acute like facility, watching their neighbours beside them cognitively regress as a result of the tension and depression of the unfamiliar, undignified, and restrictive environment? What sort of morals and values will our children inherit when they are exposed to ideas that privacy, dignity, independence and quality of life is deemed a luxury for our elders living with a terminal condition? Are nursing homes, Singapore’s very own wooden bowl?
We need to do more to become a more inclusive Singapore.
Here’s some additional information about dementia.
Did you know?
Dementia is a terminal condition with no cure (World Health Organisation 2015).
“People with dementia are frequently denied the basic rights and freedoms available to others. In many countries, physical and chemical restraints are used extensively in care facilities for elderly people and in acute-care settings, even when regulations are in place to uphold the rights of people to freedom and choice.
An appropriate and supportive legislative environment based on internationally accepted human rights standards is required to ensure the highest quality of service provision to people with dementia and their caregivers.” (Source: WHO 2015)
Wee, S.-L. et al., 2015. Singaporeans’ perceptions of and attitudes toward long-term care services. Qualitative health research, 25(2), pp.218–27.