Developers urged to build senior citizen-focused living facilities

Eden On The Park Integrated Seniors Lifestyle and Care Residence Resort in Kuching

KUCHING, Feb 1: Developers in the country are encouraged to venture into the construction of retirement or senior living homes, with the hope that such facilities would be made available to the public.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the growing ageing population in recent years has become a significantly worrying issue in Malaysia as it brings about many new challenges.

“We will have 50 per cent senior citizens (aged 60 and above) in the whole population of Malaysia by 2030. It is high time for this sector (developers) to consider and create new concepts to cater to our aging population,” Hilmi said today after visiting Eden On The Park Integrated Seniors Lifestyle and Care Residence Resort here.

Complimenting the developer of Eden On The Park for being the first in Malaysia to start such a concept, Hilmi hoped others will follow suit.

“We encourage more to create a similar concept, not just in Sarawak, but in Malaysia. We need to prepare for the eventuality of becoming an old age nation. We also need to know how to handle this type of population,” he said.

He added that due to better health facilities, Malaysians’ average life expectancy has risen by over 20 years since 1957, and the average life expectancy of an average Malaysian at birth now stands at 76 years for women and 72 years for men.

“It is good that Malaysians are living longer, thanks to better health care. On the other hand, we are now worried about the lifestyle of our young generation. While the old lives longer, the young generations are facing all sorts of illness.

Hilmi cited non-communicable diseases (NCD) as an example, as it has been increasing based on the style of living of the people, especially the young generation.

He also described it as a current worry where the young people, even those in their early 30s, are now getting NCD such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and hypertension.

He urged Malaysians to put serious efforts into caring for their physical and mental wellbeing, because healthy ageing depends on maintaining good health from young via a healthy lifestyle.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya

Meanwhile, Eden On The Park Integrated Seniors Lifestyle and Care Residence Resort at the Kuching-Samarahan road is the first prototype retirement village here which incorporates best practices drawn from the Australian industry and adapting it to local social needs and cultural values while addressing the age-old taboos of Asian societies.

During his briefing with the Ministry of Health delegates today, founder and managing director Victor Fong mentioned issues such as the need for sustainability, local architecture, and negativity associated with local cultures and taboos towards the use of retirement and nursing homes.

“The integrated aged care and seniors living resort caters for active independent residents. We also provide a high-end care residence for assisted and nursing care. These three separate individual components allow residents and property owners within the resort to “age in place”, Fong said.

Eden On The Park Resort adapts person-centric and relationship-centred practices.

Its nursing and care practice involves making the resident or patient understand his own care needs and physiology.

It also engages family members in the care plan allowing them greater understanding of the relatives’ care needs and helping to manage the emotional needs of family members as well as the patients or residents themselves. — DayakDaily