Centre in Ipoh helps families ensure dementia patients get the care, exercise they need

Sylvia Looi
·3-min read
An exercise in session at the BebeLEC Day Care Centre for dementia patients in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib
An exercise in session at the BebeLEC Day Care Centre for dementia patients in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Nov 26 — May (not her real name) does not have any children from her 35 years marriage with her husband.

Five years ago, she had to start looking after her husband Wong Cheok Sun after the 86-year-old was diagnosed with dementia.

May, 65, said her husband needs her for his daily affairs now.

“From reminding him to take a shower to telling him it is time to sleep, I am like a mother to him.”

Speaking to Malay Mail, May said before Wong was diagnosed with dementia, life was hard for her.

“He would suddenly throw tantrums at me and scold me using foul words. A check with the doctor later confirmed he was suffering from dementia as a scan showed his brain had shrunk.”

Today, Wong has lost his hearing and cannot tell the time, a far cry from his heyday as a mechanic.

“Despite wearing adult diapers, he would also wet his pants. On days when he refused to shower, I would tell him that he has a bad smell just to encourage him to take his bath.”

But thanks to BebeLEC Day Care Centre for dementia patients, May can leave Wong for a few hours while she recharges herself.

Operated by the Perak Dementia Society, Wong goes to the centre five times a week where he receives care and exercise catered for dementia patients.

Perak Dementia Society chairman Prof Dr Esther Ebenezer says 40 per cent of dementia caregivers suffer from stress as a result of taking care of their loved ones. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak Dementia Society chairman Prof Dr Esther Ebenezer says 40 per cent of dementia caregivers suffer from stress as a result of taking care of their loved ones. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Society chairman Prof Dr Esther Ebenezer said 40 per cent of dementia caregivers suffer from stress as a result of taking care of their loved ones.

“With the centre, families with dementia patients can have peace of mind as their loved one will receive the best care rather than being left at home with no stimulation.”

Dr Esther said the society started operating from the present building on July 20 this year after 10 years of operating from a rented premises at Jalan Foo Choong Nyit.

“Our present premise is built with donations from the family of one of our earliest clients Bebe Lim.”

“The interior fixtures were donated by wellwishers,” said Dr Esther.

The centre has between 15 and 20 clients.

“Prior to the implementation of the movement control order, we had 35 clients but some families decided to move their loved one to nursing or old folks homes as our centre was closed then.”

Dr Esther, who is also a psychogeriatrician, said the centre could take up to 40 clients at one time.

She said while at the centre, clients are put on activities that help to slow down the progression of their condition.

The clients, added Dr Esther, would start their day with a walk in the garden before taking a half-hour break for breakfast.

Clients at BebeLEC Day Care Centre for dementia patients have various activities to slow down the progression of the disease. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Clients at BebeLEC Day Care Centre for dementia patients have various activities to slow down the progression of the disease. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Then the day would continue with exercise, singing and games before breaking for lunch and rest.

“Before the clients have their tea break and leave the centre, they will have memory games.”

The centre has five personnel that include two retired nurses and a physiotherapist for its daily operation while a doctor would come in to check on the clients general well being monthly.

The charges are between RM35 and RM50 depending on the number of days the loved one is sent to the centre.

The society welcomes donations and volunteers to assist at the centre.

Cheques made payable to The Dementia Society Perak can be sent to 56, Jalan Lang, Padang Tembak, 30000, Ipoh, Perak.

Details on volunteering at the centre can contact the society at 05-5060806 between 8am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays.