Higher percentage of elderly in Sarawak by 2030

Fatimah (seated centre) reveals some of the statistics on the elderly population to the media.

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Jan 3: Sarawak is expected to record a higher percentage of senior citizens by 2030 than originally estimated.

Citing statistics from the United Nations and Department of Statistics Malaysia, Minister of Welfare and Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah revealed that the percentage of elderly people above the age of 60 in Sarawak was estimated to be at 16 per cent, compared to an estimate of 15 per cent to be registered by the whole country by 2030.

With the country’s ageing community growing, she said that early preparations were needed to take care of the elderly and that there was an increasing need for more day-care centres.

“As we move towards an ageing society, we need to take good care of this group of people. We want them to have a healthy and active lifestyle and be independent as they can.

“There is a stage (in life) when we are still independent and there is also a stage whereby we become dependent on others because of health concerns,” she told reporters after attending an event hosted by a day-care centre, Silverhair Paradise for the elderly here today.

In 2018, Fatimah said 11 per cent of the population in Sarawak or 306,800 people consisted of senior citizens.

Fatimah noted that there were 12 day-care centres for the elderly in Sarawak and about 44 day-care centres of various types such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centres and others throughout Sarawak.

She said her ministry supported and encouraged the idea of more day-care centres being set up.

Fatimah stated that her ministry would also help to facilitate in terms of compliance, regulations, technical aspects as well as the safety requirements of establishing new day care centres.

She also disclosed that there were 20,217 cases of senior citizens who received financial aid as of December 2019.

Elaborating further, Fatimah stated that the highest number of cases recorded were from Sibu (2,940); Kuching (2,877); Sri Aman (2,101); Mukah (1,800); Betong (1,793); Limbang (1,499); Miri (1,440) and other towns. —DayakDaily

Fatimah (eighth right from the back) having a group photo with the senior citizens, nurses of the day care centre as well as the officials from her ministry.