101 of Dementia

On 21 September each year, the world comes together to celebrate World Alzheimer’s Day. It’s when campaigns are run internationally to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and to mitigate the stigma associated with it.

2 out of every 3 people globally believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their countries. – Alzheimer’s Disease International

Over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 131 million by 2050. (1)

Let’s bust some myths relating to Alzheimer’s Disease!

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 50%-75% of all cases. It is a disease that destroys brain cells and nerves, which then disrupts the neurotransmitters and affects the production of certain chemicals such as acetylcholine.

Damage occurs in the temporal lobe and hippocampus, which are responsible for storing and retrieving new information. This consequentially affects people’s ability to remember, speak, think and make decisions.

MYTH BUST #1:

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms including impaired thinking and memory. Alzheimer’s Disease is a cause of Dementia.

Another distinct difference between Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Dementia is that AD is a degenerative disease that CANNOT be treated. Some forms of dementia such as those resulting from vitamin deficiency might actually be reversed. (Source)

Obtained with reference from Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Read about other types of dementia here.

How can I identify persons with Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Download here

There are early warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. Recognising these warning signs early can allow us to receive medical attention that eases the symptoms.

Let’s run through those more confusing ones!

Memory loss

When does forgetfulness move away from being just forgetfulness to becoming a symptom of Alzheimer’s Disease? A great example provided by ALZ UK is: When we are forgetful, we might briefly forget our neighbour’s name but we’d still remember that he or she is our neighbour. For persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, they would forget BOTH the neighbour’s name AND the fact that he or she is their neighbour.

Tip: A person with dementia will forget details and also the context.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks

For example, forgetting regular social activities, getting dressed and preparing a meal.

Problems with language

Recognised by their inability to express themselves through words or follow conversations, they would also forget simple words or substitute unusual words.

Disorientation to time and place

For example, they get lost in familiar places, forget where they are or how they got there, and not know how to get back home. They may also confuse night and day.

Poor or decreased judgement

For example, they may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers of clothes on a warm day or very few on a cold day.

Misplacing things

Similar to the example in memory loss, persons with dementia don’t just misplace items, they may put things in unusual places such as an iron in the fridge or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

Changes in mood or behaviour

Characterised by unusually emotional and rapid mood swings for no apparent reason. Alternatively, they may also show less emotion than was usual previously.

They may also experience changes in personality, resulting in them seeming different from his or her usual self in ways that are difficult to pinpoint.

Tip: Close family and friends are the best observer for this.

Loss of initiative

They may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or appear to lose interest in hobbies.

View the full text here.

Access videos that would walk you through the process of identifying, diagnosing and caring for persons with Dementia.

There are currently estimated to be over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 131 million by 2050.
– Alzheimer’s Disease International

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View full PDF of the infographic from World Health Organisation here.

What are the risk factors associated with Dementia?

A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s risk of developing a condition or disease. Note that having a risk factor does NOT mean that you WILL end up with the disease. You might have the risk factor but by taking proper precautionary steps, you can still lead healthy lives. There are some risk factors that you can control and some that you cannot.

Let’s take a closer look at both.

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Risk factors you CANNOT control:

Age

Above the age of 65, a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease doubles roughly every 5 years. It is estimated that dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80.

Gender

Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men. For other kinds of Dementia, women and men share the same risks.

Genetics

More than 20 genes have been found that affect a person’s risk of developing it. Note that it doesn’t necessitate that people with these genes will definitely develop Dementia. It is also possible to inherit genes that definitely result in Dementia, such as familial Alzheimer’s Disease and genetic frontotemporal Dementia but it is extremely, extremely rare.

window-932760_1280Risk factors you CAN control:

Cardiovascular Disease 

Having cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes increases a person’s risk of developing dementia by up to two times. Strong evidence has shown that cardiovascular risk factors significantly affect a person’s chance of developing Dementia. The main ones are:

  • Type 2 diabetes – in mid-life or later life
  • High blood pressure – in mid-life
  • High total blood cholesterol levels – in mid-life
  • Obesity – in mid-life

Lifestyle factors

There is OVERWHELMING evidence that ‘What’s good for your heart is good for your head’. Poor lifestyle choices such as the lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, smoking and excessive alcohol can increase your cardiovascular risks. This in turn contributes to increased risks of Dementia.

Obtained with reference from Alzheimer’s Society UK.

How can you take action?

The last but one of the MOST important topic to cover is what YOU can do about it.

It is important to remember that ageing is universal and none of us age alone. We age within a community and hence, we can contribute to creating dementia-friendly communities.

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View complete infographic of Dementia-friendly communities here.

We are fearful of what we don’t understand. This could refer to racial hate or age-related stereotypes or plain old judgement against our peers.

The Alzheimer’s Dementia International also agrees that the social stigma is the consequence of a lack of knowledge about dementia. The numerous long- and short-term effects include:

  • Dehumanisation of the person with dementia
  • Strain within families and friendships
  • A lack of sufficient care for people with dementia and their carers
  • A lower rate of diagnosis of dementia
  • Delayed diagnosis and support

Obtained in full text from Alzheimer’s Dementia International.

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View complete infographic of Dementia-friendly communities here.

Forget Us Not Singapore has incredible resources available here on how to identify and approach persons with Dementia to best assist them.

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In fact, Project We Forgot is hosting an event on 30 September to celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month through film, music, art and photography! The event aims to bring the journey of dementia and the impact caregivers face to light.

If you’re up for changing the narrative of Dementia, RSVP for their event here.

You don’t need to be 100% ready

Why would anyone listen to me?
Why would anyone put me in charge?
I’m not good enough.

Hands up! I’m guilty of this too.

We think we have to be 100% ready before we put ourselves out there because we’re afraid of what others might say. We’re fearful of judgement and criticism. We’re worried that our worthiness would be called to question and that if we fail, we become less of who we are.

That’s completely human.

And what I’ve found most comforting, is knowing that you’re not alone.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is believing in your worthiness for love and belonging regardless.

If you like the idea of 21 days to discovering your purpose and building the resilience to achieve it, sign up for our next run of the 21-Days Resilience Building Challenge. 

You’re not defined by your job, income, academic grades, type of friends, number of friends, social media accounts or even the types of movies you watch. You’re you, a culmination of experiences, values and personalities. 

And you don’t need to be perfect.

offer yourself graceA story I recently read from Rich20Something by Daniel Dipiazza really struck out.

If you’re like most of us, you were probably taught how to ride your first bike by a sibling or an older family member. You wanted to badly to get on the thing and fly, but you needed help from someone who’d already done it before. When your older sibling offered to teach you, did you stop him and say, “Excuse me, are you a professional cyclist? How many Tour de Frances have you won?” 

For every one of us, we are in some ways – FOR SURE, have had the experience in areas that could benefit others.

It could be knowing how to use Excel to generate random numbers.
It could be knowing where to find the social media marketing books in the library.
It could be knowing how to speak Cantonese or Teochew.

(Those are FOR A FACT, things I didn’t know just yesterday and counted on others – who did NOT have a certification from an out-of-the-world institution, to teach and guide me along. And I was 100% OKAY with that.)

digital-nomad-millenial-woman-working-remotely-from-cafe-picjumbo-comIn every project, side hustle, job that you choose to embark on, you don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to be 100% ready. You only need to have the hunger to learn. 

Interested in a blueprint to starting your next big idea? Get updates of 7-Days to YOUR NEXT BIG IDEA! 

If you enjoyed this conversation, we have more #realtalk happening every week on our Facebook Page. You can sign up for live conversation updates here!

 

#realtalk Conversation Starters

Are you familiar with that intensely uncomfortable feeling of The Awkward Silence?

You and your friend sit across one another.

You contemplate talking about their interests and passions, but then again, what if there’s nothing much you can talk about their favourite band?

You consider talking about their family, but then again, what if that got too intrusive?

You end up, as always, talking about safer topics like the weather or traffic or LO AND BELOLD, about how little sleep you got last night.

We’ve all been there. I, for sure, have been there. And I absolutely dislike it.

Because after this conversation, you don’t know anything more about the person than you use to. You don’t understand how they felt about certain situations or why they respond in certain ways.

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Imagine if you could change the conversations that you’re having.

What if, with real conversations, you start to connect with yourself and others on a deeper, more meaningful level?

#realtalk brings you weekly conversation topics to get you started on understanding one another and yourself on a meaningful way.

Questions surround topics on courage, compassion, gratitude, joy, love, regret and any raw emotions that we all have as humans. The intentions of these questions are to deep dive into the emotions you feel and that makes you human.

Topics go up every Monday. Once a month, we pick a topic that is central to the month and have a live conversation about it.

*// You can now register for updates on our live conversations or join in one //*

 

101 of our SMFB Academy

You might have learnt about our SMFB Academy through many ways.

Your friend might have talked about it.
You might have heard it from one of our team.
You might have seen it written somewhere.

Truth is, SMFB Academy encompasses many elements. And today, we wanted to provide you with a 101 of our Academy so that you can choose the one that BEST FITS your goals and interests.

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Q: What is the SMFB Academy?

SMFB Academy is the educational arm of Strong Mind Fit Body. It is designed to equip our Academy participants with 21st Century skills so that they may best serve their communities.

We believe that for you to practice compassion to others, you must first learn to practice compassion to yourself. As such, all programmes in SMFB Academy have a strong focus on self-discovery, self-awareness and self-compassion.

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Q: What do you offer within SMFB Academy?

You can access SMFB Academy in one of the following three ways.

  1. By volunteering with us as SMFB Champion, you get to practice career-relevant skills. You choose from three developmental tracks, namely: Human Resource, Communications (includes copywriting, photography and video editing) and Safety.
  2. By signing up for the Student Champion Development Programme through your school, you learn how to run impactful community service projects and how to make them sustainable. Teachers can connect with us here.

    *SPECIAL*

    An online version of this programme is coming up soon! If you’d like to register for this COMPLETELY FREE, STEP-BY-STEP COURSE that will guide you on:
    – How to discover community needs
    Brainstorm for creative solutions 
    – Rapidly prototype and test
    Design for sustainability 
    – BONUS content on clarifying your intentions 
    – BONUS content on building strong teams

    Get first dips here!

  3. By enrolling in our Workout Leaders Programme to become a workout leaders to run SMFB Neighbourhoods sessions. We’re currently running our trial programme. Register here to stay updated!

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Q: Is this a paid programme?

Our Students Development Programme, Workout Leaders Programme and SMFB Academy Online courses are all paid programmes.

However, there are TONS of free resources we have available.

 

We hope we’ve covered most of your questions!

More questions? Feel free to reach us here.

Tip #10 Offer Yourself Grace

I always go through these same train of events when I work with partners – or with someone new on something new.

First, I feel an unexplainable urge to be perfect.

“I’ve must have everything put together.”

“I must know the answers to all their questions.”

“I must show foresight.”

These thoughts replay and reinforce themselves in my head. I end up pretending that I know all the answers; or describe a 10-year plan that I thought of on the spot. And worse yet, I judge myself for that and feel really uncomfortable about it.

Second, I believe that what I do is who I am.

If I’ve told everyone that I’m an entrepreneur, educator, designer, marketer or maker, I have to stick to it. Otherwise, I’d be fickle, a failure, out-of-place…

What follows the “otherwise” often trips us up. We believe that these roles are everything that we are, which is not the case.

Last, I feed on the approval of others.

It is uncomfortable having to put ourselves out there. This could be new ideas, unpopular opinions or sharing a personal story. This discomfort and the intense fear of feeling unworthy often results in us giving so much more weight to the words of others.

When they agree, we give a sigh of relief and are thankful for this opportunity that others have given us. (And we forgot that it was on us to have prepared for this opportunity!) When they disagree, we are quick to chuck the idea aside and label it as useless.

These moments are very real and also very human. In these moments of vulnerability, I’d like to remind us that we are all humans. While we cannot biologically remove these uncomfortable feelings, we can offer ourselves some grace.

Upcoming is our 21-Days Resilience Building Challenge. Learn more about it here!

Tip #9 Plan for sustainability

This means that your 3-months summer holiday, or semester-long module requirement should not be your sole consideration when planning for a project.

The people you serve are individuals with their own lives to live and lives that last beyond your summer holiday and semester. When you plan community service projects, plan for sustainability.

What planning for sustainability means?

  1. Giving every partner a stake in the project
  2. Focusing on practices instead of protocols
  3. Clarifying the vision

Let’s break this down further.

Giving every partner a stake in the project

What this looks like: Partners give suggestions and feedback freely about everything from conceptualising to marketing to operations. They give constructive feedback that focuses on the problem instead of looking to blame or judge.

Focusing on practices instead of protocols

What this looks like: Your team has the autonomy to make decisions from the minute details such as who to bring onto the team to the conceptual issues such as the organisation’s strategic directions. More importantly, they are ennobled to do so.

Clarifying the vision

What this looks like: Your team is able to explain and work on the company’s vision consistently and clearly.

Claim your FREE ebook on “Connecting, Engaging and Managing Community Partners.” Get your first dips here!

 

Tip #8 Emphasise on the impact measures

I use to run community service projects to “help the community” or to “make people happy.” And it takes you having a big heart to want to do so.

What I’m asking is that you challenge yourself further to define precise impact metrics.

There’s this great quote by Peter Drucker,
“What gets measured, gets managed.”

ACTIVITY FOR YOU:
Map
backward from our end goal to the outcome metrics to the key activities that we would undertake, we can define with great clarity what to measure and how it contributes to an end goal that meets community needs in a sustainable manner.

Here’s a downloadable Google Sheet for you to guide you through creating your own metrics.