Dr Iris Rawtaer, Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, SKH, contributed an essay on caring for seniors with cognitive or mental health conditions and shared about her encounters with her patients at the clinic. Caring for seniors with dementia is a challenging task but Dr Rawtaer is heartened to see some of her patients being respected by their family members as individuals and receiving good support and patient-centred care from them. Nevertheless, she recognises that caregiver stress is prevalent as she shared about one of the caregivers who broke down in tears at her clinic. The circuit breaker last year also saw the closure of dementia day care centres, which added to the stress of another caregiver who had to juggle work, caring for other family members with and without other medical conditions, on top of caring for her mother with dementia. Dr Rawtaer noted how some of her patients had become less active and how their health conditions have deteriorated as they stayed at home more to keep safe from the COVID-19 virus. She wondered how many more seniors with cognitive or mental health conditions were going undetected in the community, especially in these times of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing measures further exacerbating isolation in more vulnerable populations.
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