SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 23 September 2022 – The Enabling Festival 2022 opens on 23 September 2022 at National Gallery Singapore, with the key programme focus on the theme of Touch. COVID-19 has created a world of isolation and disrupted a fixed routine that many persons living with dementia live by. The lack of social and physical interaction has inevitably increased the burden and stress of caregiving. Too often we have underestimated the power of touch and its potential to heal when words become cumbersome. The festival aims to remind participants that touch is memory and is where we begin our journey to communicate, through a series of thought-provoking and engaging festival programmes. Visitors can expect to learn practical skills and ideas to help close the gap, as well as real-life experiences of persons living with dementia and their caregivers.
Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law, will open the festival with 10 pairs of persons living with dementia and their family caregivers1, as a ground-up approach recognising the festival built by caregivers for caregivers.
Mr Danny Raven Tan (陈重源), Co-founder, Enable Asia says, “It was very challenging during COVID-19 when we had to be very careful with the people we meet outside of home, for fear of bringing the virus back to my mother who is living with advanced dementia. I had to cut off social interaction in order to protect her, especially when I was down with the virus myself. She unavoidably felt really isolated and down as she could not understand the lack of interaction when I used to see her and massage her every day.”
The festival will be held from 23 September to 16 October 2022, in conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September 2022) and spans over to World Mental Health Day (10 October 2022). It emphasises the importance of dementia awareness and caregivers’ mental well-being with a line-up of activities for persons living with dementia, caregivers and the public to engage in. Following the aftermath of the COVID-19 restriction, this is the first time that the festival is taking on a hybrid2 format, with 60% of the programmes online and 40% physically held at National Gallery Singapore. Enabling Festival Artistic Director, Jeremiah Choy, says, “Visitors can expect to be engaged both physically and digitally through experiential art and creative workshops, insightful talks as well as a short film screening that shed light on touching stories in our society.”
In tandem with The Enabling Festival 2022’s theme of touch, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) will be showcasing a video on Namaste Care, a multi-approach care programme that incorporates sensory, psychosocial and spiritual elements to enhance the quality of life for persons living with dementia. The video features practical tips for communicating with persons living with dementia to benefit caregivers and their loved ones.
Mr Noel Cheah, AIC’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, shared, “Caregivers play an important role in supporting the needs of their loved ones, and they are a valuable pillar within the healthcare system. A programme like Namaste Care complements their caregiving efforts by promoting a loving touch approach to carry out meaningful activities. To better equip caregivers with knowledge and skills, AIC will work with our partners to develop more tools and resources. We will continue to look into ways to support caregivers in their journey in line with our vision to enable seniors to live well and age gracefully in the community.”
Ms Suenne Megan Tan, Senior Director, Museum Planning and Audience Engagement, National Gallery Singapore, says, “National Gallery Singapore is delighted to support The Enabling Festival as a Programme Partner as we recognise the proven benefits of art engagement in enhancing the well-being of persons living with dementia and their caregivers. As part of our vision to be an inclusive and accessible space for diverse communities to enjoy meaningful engagement with the arts, the Gallery will be introducing new initiatives including an evidence-based programme to better serve this community.”
“As dementia becomes more prevalent in Singapore, The Enabling Festival will continue to serve as an enablement and empowerment platform to help the public understand how persons living with dementia and their family caregivers perceive dementia, navigate their day-to-day activities, age-in-place and live independently in the community.” said Daniel Lim (林国源), Co-founder, Enable Asia.
Onwards and towards a dementia-friendly Singapore
Heightened awareness is essential as we strive to look for ways to overcome the challenges family caregivers and persons living with dementia face in the aspects of emotional health, community inclusiveness, job fulfillment, and financial support. It takes a whole village and multiple helping hands approach to achieve a dementia-friendly Singapore.
The Enabling Festival 2022 is an annual event focused on building awareness and facilitating discussions around dementia, as well as providing a channel of support and enablement for persons living with dementia and their caregivers.
The festival is organised by Enable Asia, a Singapore-based social enterprise dedicated to advocacy for persons living with dementia and their family caregivers and supported by The Majurity Trust and the Agency for Integrated Care.
Register for The Enabling Festival 2022 (free entry, registration required): https://enablingfestival.peatix.com/
Check out The Enabling Festival 2022 programme brochure (PDF): https://bit.ly/3xtoatx
1 See annex for caregivers’ stories
2 See annex for list of programmes
PROFILES OF ACCOMPANYING GUESTS-OF-HONOUR
PERSONS LIVING WITH DEMENTIA AND THEIR FAMILY CAREGIVERS
- Ms Irene Chan, 48 years old, was a former caregiver for her 77-year-old mother, Mdm Esther Liw Hong Chan, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2016. Mdm Liw had recently passed on. Ms Chan was in Singapore while her mother was based in Australia, during Covid-19, Ms Chan was back in Singapore to settle the administrative processes of employing a foreign domestic helper and transferring the help to provide care for her mother and father in Australia. She is a successful business consultant.
- Mr William Koh (许威良), who turned 18 in 2022, is a caregiver for his mother, Mdm Margaret Rankin Laird, 60 years old. His caregiving journey started in 2018 before his ‘O’ levels examinations, which was challenging for a 14-year-old teenager. Today, he is not only juggling caregiving duties at home and preparation of his ‘A’ levels examinations, but also real life issues with single parenthood and financial woes. Despite facing struggles beyond what a teenager typically faces, he strives to do the best he can.
- Mr Alvin Tan, 59 years old, founder and Artistic Director for The Necessary Stage, is a caregiver for his 87-year-old mother, Mdm Loo Geok Hoon, for 10 years. Mr Tan’s mother has always been supportive of him in life and career, telling him that, “You have only one life. So be happy.” A testament of ‘A mother’s love is as strong as she’s ageing.’
- Mr Richard Ashworth, a 68-year-old retiree, was a caregiver for his father, Mr John Malcolm Ashworth, 89 years old, who lived with dementia for 10 years. Mr John has passed on in 2022. Mr Richard was adopted by Mr John, a British cargo ship captain, when he was 21 years old in 1975. His father taught him English and later encouraged him to take up sculpturing and enter his works for competition, later winning a prize in 1986. It was the help of the community that has supported him tremendously during this period.
- Ms Nora Samosir is a caregiver for her late father, and her 95-year-old mother, who has been living with dementia for the past seven years. One of the emotional battles she had to face, aside from being the sole caregiver for both parents who are highly dependent on her, was to constantly remind her mother that her husband is dying when her mother was looking for him. Ms Samosir is a Singaporean actress of Indonesian descent who won a 2002 Life Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has been active in the Singapore theatre scene since 1979 and has worked in television and film.
- Mr Baba Richard Tan, 66 years old, Chairman of GenerAsia & Director of the Main Wayang Company, is a caregiver for his 86-year-old mother, Mdm Lucy Ng, who is living with dementia for eight years.
- Mr Rosli Anjang Al Faqir, 58 years old was taken care of by wife, Mdm Sarima Mohd Tajudin, 57 years old since 2014. Mr Rosli was diagnosed with mixed dementia at the age of 50 – young-onset dementia and Lewy body dementia, a lesser known type of dementia (this dementia was what comedian and actor Robin Williams had). Back then, he decided to take matters into his own hands and get the answers to what was really wrong with him. He went to the hospital and they told him to do a dementia test. “I thought I was intelligent but I failed the test.” Since 2019, Mr Rosli has been a self-advocate for dementia care and continues to speak up about the condition in his community, at his mosque and with his friends, in the hopes to reduce the negative stigma in society.
- Ms Emily Soh, 60 years old, works in an International School and is a caregiver for her 92-year-old mother, Mdm Lee Ng Kum. Mdm Lee was an avid swimmer when she started to learn swimming at the age of 79. Mdm Lee was diagnosed with mild dementia in 2018. She likes traveling and fortunately, she travelled to South Korea (2017) and Japan (2018) before Covid-19 happened and the borders closed. Ms Soh’s mother enjoys sewing and gardening and making compost for her plants. This is a positive testament that despite suffering from dementia, one can continue to live a fulfilled life.
- Ms Dorcas Yeo (杨奕欣), 26 years old, was a secondary caregiver to her 93-year-old grandmother who lived with dementia for 12 years. Ms Yeo saw how her parents took care of her grandmother – they are the perfect role models of family caregiving. Her grandmother passed away in 2022. Ms Yeo is also the designer for “Colour Our Memories” – an Art activity colouring book for elderly and people living with dementia produced by Enable Asia.
- Ms Grace Lee-Khoo, 36 years old, an art practitioner and founder of Access Path Production, is a caregiver for her 72-year-old father, Mr Tan Tok, a retiree who has been living with Alzhemier’s Disease since 2017. Grace is married with a one year old baby boy. She is now a caregiver for both a child and an elderly, tackling the daily challenges of being a three-generation family caregiver while juggling a highly successful career.
THE ENABLING FESTIVAL 2022 PROGRAMME SYNOPSIS
Art and Creative Workshops
The Language of Touch by The Glowers
Brought to us by The Glowers, an elderly theatre performing group. Come experience the human emotional psyche about connecting with strangers and your loved ones.
The Gift of Touch by St. Luke’s Hospital
Learn practical tips from specialists from St Luke’s Hospital on how to communicate with your loved ones and create a more conducive environment for daily activities, suitable for persons living with dementia even at the advanced stage.
Venue: Children’s Museum Workshop (Ink Studio) at Keppel Centre for Art Education, National Gallery Singapore
Date: 24 – 25 September 2022 (Saturday – Sunday), 2pm – 5pm | 10-min slot
15 – 16 October 2022 (Saturday – Sunday), 2pm – 5pm | 10-min slot
24 September: https://enablingfestival2022thelanguageoftouch1.peatix.com/
25 September: https://enablingfestival2022thelanguageoftouch2.peatix.com/
15 October: https://enablingfestival2022thelanguageoftouch3.peatix.com/
16 October: https://enablingfestival2022thelanguageoftouch4.peatix.com/
Venue: Facebook Live (The Gift of Touch by St. Luke’s Hospital)
Date: 14 October 2022 (Friday), 8pm – 9pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022touchingmoments6.peatix.com/
Touching Moments Art Therapy Workshops by Red Pencil Singapore & LASALLE College of the Arts
LASALLE College of the Arts and Red Pencil Singapore brings to you two art therapy workshops that feature creative activities and tools for strengthening of cognition, sensory stimulation, mindfulness, and self-identity.
Venue: Wet Workshops 1 & 2 at Keppel Centre for Art Education, National Gallery Singapore
Date: 24 – 25 September 2022 (Saturday – Sunday), 10.30am – 1.30pm daily
Registration link: https://enablingfestivaltouchingmoments1.peatix.com/
Venue: LASALLE College of the Arts at 1 McNally Street (Green Grass Frass)
Date: 7 October 2022 (Friday), 10am – 1pm for public access
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022touchingmoments4.peatix.com/
Touching Moments Create a Fidget Blanket by Anjali Venkat
Join glass artist Angali Venkat in transforming society’s undesirable waste into works of art that also offer tactile stimulation to persons living with dementia, helping them to maintain fine motor skills, alleviate anxiety and boredom or even reinforce memory.
Venue: Facebook Live
Date: 30 September 2022 (Friday), 8pm – 9pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestivaltouchingmoments2.peatix.com/
Venue: Wet Workshops 1 & 2 at Keppel Centre for Art Education, National Gallery Singapore
Date: 15 – 16 October 2022 (Saturday – Sunday), 10.30am – 12pm
15 October: https://enablingfestival2022touchingmoments7.peatix.com/
16 October: https://enablingfestival2022touchingmoments8.peatix.com/
Touching Moments The Science, Art & Meaning of Touch by Vincent Yong
Get up close and personal with Danspire’s Vincent Yong, Singapore’s only Certified Movement Analyst and Registered Somantic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA), as he teaches the application of movement to experience the touch and emotive nature in human beings.
Venue: Art Playscape (My INK-credible Adventure) at Keppel Centre for Art Education, National Gallery Singapore
Date: 9 October 2022 (Sunday), 10.30am – 12.00pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022touchingmoments5.peatix.com/
Un*Dead Art Exhibition
Enter the artistic realm of Danny Raven Tan, a sole caregiver for his 89 year old mother living with dementia, and find out how art has become an integral part of his caregiving journey.
Venue: SimpleArte Gallery, 15 Lor 8 Toa Payoh #06-01 Braddell Tech, Singapore 319262
Date: 16 September – 31 October 2022 (Friday – Monday) | Free entry
Little Red Couch (4 episodes)
Find out how four inspiring individuals who are caregivers of family members living with dementia overcome challenges in their daily lives, and for some, the loss of their loved ones.
Venue: Facebook Live
23 September 2022 (Friday), 8pm – 8.30pm (Emily Soh)
29 September 2022 (Thursday), 8pm – 8.30pm (Diana Lee | Irene Chan)
6 October 2022 (Thursday), 8pm – 8.30pm (Alison Lim)
13 October (Thursday), 8pm – 8.30pm (William Koh)
23 September: https://enablingfestival2022littleredcouch1.peatix.com/
29 September: https://enablingfestival2022littleredcouch2.peatix.com/
6 October: https://enablingfestival2022littleredcouch3.peatix.com/
13 October: https://enablingfestival2022littleredcouch4.peatix.com/
In-Conversation #1 Know Your Rights by Eden Law
Associate Director Ms Low Seow Ling from Eden Law will touch on sensitive legal topics surrounding professional deputy and donee scheme. Ms Low is one of the registered Professional Deputies and Donees in Singapore.
Venue: Facebook Live
Date: 1 October 2022 (Saturday), 8pm – 9pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022inconversation1.peatix.com/
In-Conversation #2 Night Respite Service by Vanguard Senior Care Centre (Woodlands)
Night Respite Service is a pilot programme in collaboration with AIC. It is a programme which aims to support caregivers of persons living with dementia displaying sundowning behaviour through the provision of short-term overnight respite care.
Venue: Facebook Live
Date: 2 October 2022 (Sunday), 8pm – 9pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022inconversation2.peatix.com/
In-Conversation #3 The Last Touch (Panel Talk)
An intimate and honest panel discussion touching on topics that are taboo and almost morbid to many. Hear from panelists that include a hospital doctor, a caregiver, a funeral director and a family therapist.
Venue: Live on Zoom
Date: 8 October 2022 (Saturday)), 2pm – 4pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022inconversation3.peatix.com/
Touching Stories – A Curated Showcase of The Enabling Festival’s Short Films
A screening of specially curated shorts films revolving around dementia, caregiving, hope and resilience. The film screening seeks to celebrate the journey of caregiving.
Venue: YouTube Live
Date: 16 October 2022 (Sunday), 8pm – 9pm
Registration link: https://enablingfestival2022touchingstories.peatix.com/
Hashtag: #EnableAsia #EnablingFestival #dementiaawareness