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For wellness and wisdom

Health science students strive to enhance senior citizens’ quality of life in the Sultanate

A group of third year medical students from Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences ((PAPRSB  IHS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has formed ‘Wise and Well’, a community organisation dedicated to enhance the quality of life for the elderly in the community.

The student-led project strives to empower and celebrate the wisdom and contributions of the elderly community by creating a supportive and engaging environment that promotes their physical, mental and social well-being.

The group envisions a high quality of life that is sustainable through healthy ageing by promoting and improving the likelihood of performing strengthening and balanced exercises among the elderly; promote the usage of brain stimulation applications; and assess the attitude and perception of the elderly community on physical and cognitive stimulation.

Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences students during their roadshow at the International Convention Centre. PHOTO: COHORT

It is led by Haji Muhammad Adib Wajdi bin Haji Asrul Azmi, with the assistance of Dayangku Ummi Nur Maizan Qistina binti Pengiran Zulkifli as co-leader; Mohammad Waldan Hamizan bin Yakub as secretary and administration; Shasha Aniisa binti Morshidi in finance and logistics; Muhammad Hazman bin Awang Josli for public relations and religious affairs; Awangku Haji Muhammad Syazwi Saifuddin bin Pengiran Haji Nasaruddin in event planning, safety and security; and Alya Batrisyia binti Abdullah in media, design and publicity.

The group has played a pivotal role in bringing much-needed clarity to the complex issue of dementia through their outreach. Their primary objective is to make information about dementia more accessible to the general public.

Dementia, in essence, is the profound loss of cognitive functioning, which encompasses critical aspects such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning. This deterioration is so significant that it disrupts an individual’s daily life and their ability to carry out normal activities.

The root causes of dementia lie in alterations within specific brain regions, which result in a malfunction of neurons (nerve cells) and the connections between them. This malfunction leads to the debilitating symptoms associated with dementia.

ABOVE & BELOW: Senior citizens engage in activities at Lambak and Tutong senior citizens activity centres. PHOTOS: COHORT

Several factors have been identified as contributing to an increased risk of dementia. These include gender, with females being more susceptible to the condition. Lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have also been linked to a higher risk. Environmental factors, particularly exposure to air pollution, can exacerbate the progression of the disease.

Furthermore, an individual’s brain’s inherent ability to cope with the effects of dementia, as well as the presence of other underlying health conditions, can further elevate the risk.

Importantly, Wise and Well emphasises on adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia. This underscores the importance of making informed choices and taking proactive steps to maintain cognitive well-being.

The group has also engaged with the community by holding events at senior citizens activity centres in Brunei-Muara, Tutong and Belait districts.

The group has also organised roadshows to raise the profile of senior citizens activity centres, bring awareness to dementia, promote strength and balance exercises as well as cognitive stimulation through website application, and assess the knowledge of the  public of dementia and its risk factors.

In August and September, the group organised roadshows at the International Convention Centre, the Ministry of Development, UBD, Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) and Temburong District in collaboration with colleagues PerMata, EDPMMO and World Kidney Day, with the target being the general public.

The roadshow features a video showcase of senior citizens activity centres, posters of strength and balance exercises, Nintendo Switch Sports + Human Benchmark website and the distribution of pamphlets. – Rizal Faizal