TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Hailing from Hong Kong, Yen Ruei-shing (甄瑞興) did very well in a university entrance examination by self-study and was admitted to a medical school in Taiwan. Yen is now director of General Neurology Division, Department of Neurology at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital.
In 1997, Yen founded the country’s first professional dementia team at Cardinal Tien Hospital in Xindian, and later started special dementia outpatient services in Taipei and Kaohsiung one after another. In February, 2017, he helped the Health Department of New Taipei City set up the country’s first network for integrated dementia care, pushing for providing coordinated care for dementia patients and their families in New Taipei City.
For 20 years, Yen has been dedicated to providing medical care for people suffering from dementia. In addition, Yen has served as director and convener of Taiwan Alzheimer Disease Association (TADA) in the past, and during his tenure he kept pushing for projects to fight Alzheimer's disease in the country and overseas in order to keep the TADA on the international stage.
Yen stressed that dementia is a progressive degeneration of recognition ability caused by brain damage or diseases, and only by early diagnosis and treatment, can the worsening of the condition be slowed down.
In recent years, Taiwan has an ageing population, and subsequently the number of people suffering from dementia, which is more prevalent among older people, has been rising. According to a research authorized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, there are around 260,000 people suffering from dementia in Taiwan, and they are like half psychos, with symptoms including illusions, delusions, irritability and insecurity.
The research further indicates that there are about 100,000 families in Taiwan with members suffering from dementia. At the early stage of the onset, dementia patients usually have difficulty remembering things, and as the disease worsens, they even forget time and friends, and the worst symptom is difficulty remembering family members and even who they are, according to the research. Therefore, dementia is not only a disease, but it is also a family and societal issue as well as a big burden for the patient’s family.
Yen has been holding training programs and forums for families of dementia patients who want to learn how to better take care of the patients and have better relationship with them.
Yen said, “Inner happiness cannot be measured by money,” and feedback from every dementia patient and his or her family has become part of his recollections. On winning the honor of the Medical Contribution Award at the New Taipei City Health Charity Award, he said smilingly, “By any means, being able to help the family is the most important.”