The Enabling Festival 2022 opens to support dementia-friendly Singapore through The Power of Touch

The Enabling Festival 2022 opens on 23 September 2022 at National Gallery Singapore, with the key program focus on the theme of Touch.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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, 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.

ABOUT ENABLE ASIA

Enable Asia is a Singaporean Social Enterprise founded by two caregivers to persons living with dementia, who are passionate in educating and raising awareness about the caregiving journey and also to enable those living with dementia. They envision working with an inclusive community to identify problems and co-create solutions through various key initiatives such as The Enabling Festival to achieve their objectives.

ABOUT THE MAJURITY TRUST

The Majurity Trust is a philanthropic organisation that seeks to work with donors and charities to build a thriving and sustainable community for all in Singapore.

ABOUT AGENCY FOR INTEGRATED CARE

The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) aims to create a vibrant care community for people to live well and age gracefully. AIC coordinates and supports efforts in integrating care to achieve the best care outcomes for their clients. They reach out to caregivers and seniors with information on staying active and ageing well, and connect people to services they need. AIC supports stakeholders in their efforts to raise the quality of care, and also work with health and social care partners to provide services for the ageing population. Their work in the community brings care services and information closer to those in need.

ABOUT DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY SINGAPORE

The Dementia-Friendly Singapore (DFSG) is an initiative, led by AIC and in collaboration with community partners, announced by the Ministry of Health in 2016 to address the dementia prevalence in Singapore. DFSG initiative aims to build an inclusive society whereby people know about dementia and mental wellness as well as persons living with dementia and their families feel respected, valued and confident to live well in the community.

ABOUT NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

National Gallery Singapore is a leading visual arts institution which oversees the world's largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian modern art. Situated at the birthplace of modern Singapore, in the heart of the Civic District, the Gallery is housed in two national monuments—City Hall and former Supreme Court—that have been beautifully restored and transformed into this exciting 64,000-square-metre venue.

Reflecting Singapore's unique heritage and geographical location, the Gallery aims to be a progressive museum that creates dialogues between the art of Singapore, Southeast Asia and the world to foster and inspire a creative and inclusive society. This is reflected in their collaborative research, education, long-term and special exhibitions, and innovative programming.

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