Community initiatives from Malaysia to help the elderly and vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak

By Datin Jacqueline WM Wong of Demensia Brunei

On 1​6​ March 2020, the ​newly appointed ​Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the Restricted Movement ​Order​. The Order is to be ​​enforced from ​​18 to 31 March 2020, with a possibility of extension or amplification based on the advice of the Ministry of Health.

Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Photo: Bernama/dpa

This Order prohibits mass movements and gatherings across the country including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. To enforce this prohibition, ‘non-essential services’ including all schools, government offices and business premises must be closed. For Muslims, this means the adjournment of all religious activities in mosques, including Friday prayers. Only ‘essential services’ such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and utilities will remain open.

The announcement raises concerns for those living in poverty and other low-income groups, the elderly, disabled and vulnerable. Furthermore​, it has potential implications ​for casual and wage workers, migrant workers, the self-employed and those with insufficient savings. Remote working is not a possibility for everyone.

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TADA’s dementia advisory group: a rights based approach

TADA’s Dementia Advisory Group.

LiYu Tang is the Secretary General of Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association (TADA). She holds a Master of Science in Psychiatric Nursing from the School of Nursing at National Taiwan University and has written several papers on issues surrounding dementia. She was recently featured as a guest speaker for ADI and Dementia Alliance International’s (DAI) joint webinar, ‘Dementia & rights: from principles to practice‘.

In this case study, ‘Dementia Advisory Group brings TADA Chinese Taipei to a new era of human rights’ from the World Alzheimer Report 2019, LiYu writes about the work that TADA has undertaken to establish a successful dementia advisory group in Chinese Taipei, as well as the problems and rewards that have come along the way.

During the joint webinar with ADI and DAI, LiYu touched on one of these difficulties, saying: “It is difficult to involve people with dementia to join dementia advisory groups; stigma is a very important factor. We only have one dementia advisory group in Taiwan but we hope in the future, more people will join this group and more groups in Taiwan.

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Caring for my mother

Carmel Geoghegan with her mother, Angela Doris Geoghegan, in 2011.

This year, International Women’s Day focuses on equality; both at the individual and collective level. Our individual actions, behaviours and mindsets have the ability to impact society at a large scale. If we each focus on making society equal for all, we can create a gender equal world.

In part two of this series for International Women’s Day, Carmel Geoghegan writes about her experience of caring for her mother, touching on the rewards, stigma and life changing experiences it brought her.

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Women as carers: gender considerations and stigma in dementia care

This year, International Women’s Day focuses on equality; both at the individual and collective level. Our individual actions, behaviours and mindsets have the ability to impact society at a large scale. If we each focus on making society equal for all, we can create a gender equal world.

In part one of this part two series for International Women’s Day, we look at the role of women as carers in dementia care. Originally published in the World Alzheimer Report 2019, ‘Women as carers: gender considerations and stigma in dementia care’ addresses the often overlooked role that gender plays when it comes to the role of a carer for those affected by dementia.

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Stigma, dementia and age

Silvia Perel-Levin is the Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva advocating for the human rights of older persons. She is also an independent consultant on ageing, health and communication.

She will appear as a panellist during ADI’s joint webinar with Dementia Alliance International (DAI) on 27 February.

Silvia moderating a side event on ageism at the Human Rights Council in July 2019.

“While dementia is not an inevitable result of ageing, people with dementia are likely to experience a double stigma, with the distinction between dementia stigma and ageism becomes blurred.

Growing old does not mean that we cannot do the things we like doing. However, the assumption that the decline is inevitable translates into prejudice and discrimination affecting all aspects of our daily lives. We are stripped of our rights in arbitrary ways on a routine basis based on wrong assumptions. We become invisible sufferers of social injustice.

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Challenging stigma in mental health: What we’ve learnt over 10 years

Time to Change aims to change the way we approach mental health.

In last year’s World Alzheimer’s Report, ADI looked at how dementia-related stigma is defined and how we can better understand it through its relation to power, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. Within the report, some of the expert essays and case studies examined this further by shedding light on the complexity of stigma.

Ruth Stone, Global Communications and Digital Manager, and Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change Global, contributed the case study, ‘Challenging stigma in mental health: What we’ve learnt over 10 years’. The piece looks at progress and continuing barriers for what is so well described as “the work of a generation”.


Ending mental health stigma is the work of a generation. I think that’s the most important thing we’ve learnt since starting Time to Change more than 10 years ago.

Stigma is deeply ingrained, through cultural norms, families, workplace culture, the media and even the words we speak. It is present at almost every level of society, which means our work takes time, perseverance, and a broad, flexible approach.

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