Pak Lah No Longer Remembers His Family As He Suffers From Dementia
Khairy Jamaluddin has confirmed that his father-in-law Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former prime minister, is suffering from dementia
The Health Minister told reporters yesterday, 11 September, that Abdullah, who is better known as Pak Lah and served as the fifth prime minister from 2003 to 2009, no longer remembers his family members.
"I have never shared this before. Many [have] asked where is Pak Lah? He has dementia and that is why you do not see him in public anymore. It is a cruel condition. The body is there but the mind is not. He is wheelchair-bound. He cannot function normally anymore," New Straits Times quoted Khairy as saying.
He does not remember my name, my wife's name. The only reason I know he recognises me is the flicker in his eye when I visit him.
Khairy shared the news about his father-in-law at the launch of the Malaysian Conference of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Practice Guidelines on Management of Dementia and Schizophrenia.
The 82-year-old former UMNO president started showing signs of cognitive impairment after retiring as the fifth prime minister, with his condition deteriorating to the point where he has difficulty speaking
"For us, of course, the management of his care is challenging. I see how my mother-in-law, Aunty Jean, struggles because dementia is not just about the patient, but crucially, the caregiver, as it is very difficult for them. When dementia patients deteriorate, family members can help, but after a while, it gets difficult as they need round-the-clock care. We are fortunate that we can get professional caregivers," he said.
According to Khairy, the family has decided to be open about Pak Lah's condition to shine a light on dementia and cognitive impairment
"It has been challenging for us to see the deterioration in his cognitive function. Some people are aware but many are not. This is also why he [is] no longer seen in public," he took to his Twitter to further share.
"Fortunately, we are able to [get professional caregivers]. Many others are not able to do so. It's important for us to invest in social care to support families who have loved ones that require constant care."
Adding that "there are more bad days than good", Khairy asked people to have Pak Lah in their prayers.
Meanwhile, Khairy has proposed that employees should be given an additional one-day leave to go for their annual health screening appointments: