With the aim of serving the senior population of Singapore, four students of Nanyang Technological University embarked on the creation of Walk 2 Remember. This non-profit health communications campaign strives to reduce the risk of dementia amongst the ageing population while promoting familial bonds in doing so.
By Suhaana Khanna
Why a Walkathon?
The team started out with a very simple mission: to showcase how walking with your senior loved ones can be a fun and enjoyable activity, whose benefits can be reaped by the entire society.
The team’s primary research found that many adults are not confident in bringing their senior loved ones out for walks due to various reasons, such as the fear of falling, or even because it is difficult to persuade the seniors to go out. However, fitness isn’t the only aim. The welcoming environment where families can spend time with each other allows for connections to be forged through the simple act of walking.
The Walkathon strives to serve as a platform to inspire empowering conversations around walking and dementia, which would, in turn, encourage more adults to bring their seniors out for walks. Through increased social and physical activity, individuals can thus build a stronger and healthier family unit.
Dementia as a Focus
The choice of dementia was a result of several factors. Su Fang, a member of the Walk 2 Remember team, has close ties to the condition as her grandmother is living dementia. Through the eyes of her ailing grandmother, she was able to see the psychological and physical impact of the condition.
The symptoms of dementia vary from person to person, and predicting one’s future condition is almost impossible. The effects of memory lapse, temperament issues, and an overall worsening of one’s mental health make dementia a cause that needs immediate action.
Su Fang shared how important this campaign was, as it allowed her to make active steps towards supporting education in reducing the risk of dementia in Singapore. In addition, the other members of the organizing team also shared that they had close relations to their ageing grandparents and were sure that they wanted to work towards aiding the senior population of Singapore.
When Amanda, one of the organisers, discovered the apparent link between walking and the prevention of dementia, the team knew that this was an issue close to their hearts and that they wanted to raise awareness and bring about the topic of prevention through a walkathon. The event brings people from all walks of life together, encouraging intergenerational bonding through a social activity.
“The symptoms of dementia vary from person to person, and predicting one’s future condition is almost impossible. The effects of memory lapse, temperament issues, and an overall worsening of one’s mental health make dementia a cause that needs immediate action.”
What can one expect if they attend the walkathon?
Through the Walkathon, the organizers aim to create an environment where caregivers and family members can interact with their senior relatives, and to be a fun experience where one can learn too. Apart from the walk itself, there will be game stations for seniors and caregivers to take part in.
Community partners will also be sharing resources and support available for families who would like to learn more or may require help. Participants can expect a wide variety of booths at the event; ranging from social service organisations, to on-demand home care solution providers. There will also be a panel discussion where medical professionals, social workers and physiotherapists will be discussing senior care and dementia, based on their own experiences. Participants can expect to walk away with newfound knowledge about dementia, as well as an understanding of how taking regular walks can aid in lowering the risk and/or progression of dementia.
This is a free event and open-to-all! Signing up is only required if participants want to secure a complimentary goodie bag. For more information, visit the Walk2Remember.