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People who suffer a stroke may end up with physical problems like difficulty in moving one side of their body, but what is less heeded are memory and thinking issues.

To plug this gap, a brain health and memory training programme designed by Dr Catherine Dong from NUS Medicine’s Department of Medicine, was rolled out on 27 October 2017 by charity organisation Stroke Support Station (S3). It is the first such programme in Singapore that is launched in the community, in which participants attend health education classes with caregivers to learn about post-stroke cognitive changes and advance care planning options. If needed, they will also go through once-a-week sessions to train their brain to optimise stroke recovery or even to return to work. They will be taught various strategies to help improve their memory, reduce their stress or cope with post-stroke fatigue.

It is helpful to have a community-based programme as some survivors' mental-related problems surface after they are discharged from hospital, said Dr Dong, as about 50 per cent of patients develop memory and thinking problems within the first year of their stroke. However, stroke rehabilitation programmes that are available here tend to focus on the physical and functional needs of patients, rather than cognitive function, she added.

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