Fact sheet about Ageing society in Malaysia
Malaysia’s population is increasing steadily with age, as are the populations of other nations across the world. By 2020, 10% of the country’s population will be above the age of 60 and by 2030, the percentage of the people aged above 60 will increase to 15%.
Malaysia's population is ageing at a faster rate than many may have realised. The average life expectancy for women and men in Malaysia is 76 and 73 years, respectively.
Is Nursing Home in demand in KL, Malaysia?
Asians traditionally rely on family members to take care of them in old age. In fact, it was fairly common for childless couples or unmarried individuals to adopt a child so that they would have someone to care for them when they became old and frail.
In the past, the elderly usually stayed at home with family members instead and it was rare for them to be placed in nursing homes. But now it’s not easy for the younger generation to take care of elderly family members as many of them have full-time careers. As we become more educated and career-minded, having another family member to take care of while juggling a challenging job and bringing up a family is often perceived as an extra burden.
Some say that caring for an elderly parent can be like taking care of a child.
When parents do not have time to care for their own children in Malaysia, they hire a full-time maid to keep an eye on them; the same applies to elderly parents.
In the geriatric ward, it is common to see patients of all races accompanied by a kakak – domestic workers hired from countries like Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, etc, who act as the primary carer. They work around the clock, feeding, washing, dressing and accompanying the patients at all times. Some very dedicated ones even know how to clean and dress pressure ulcers or wounds, are able to help with the suction of phlegm, and do some simple physiotherapy or rehabilitation exercises with the patient.
Alternatively, instead of hiring a maid, some parents choose to send their children to a nursery while they are at work, and pick them up after work. Similarly, in Western countries, there are “drop-in” centres where you can drop your parents off before you leave for work and bring them home when you finish work.
This service is still not available in Malaysia, but instead, we can see rapidly rising numbers of nursing homes or old folks home, especially in urban areas like Kuala Lumpur.
As an increasing number of Malaysians are living well into old age, they are in greater need of assistance in performing routine functions. Demand is also going up for medical care and nursing homes, while families are burdened with the high cost of care for elderly members.
In the past, parents usually moved in with their children as they grew older and became more dependent, and any children who sent their parents to an old folks’ home were regarded as having neglected their filial duties.
However, taking care of an elderly parent has become increasingly difficult compared to 30 years ago. This is mainly because ageing now comes with a package of chronic diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, dementia and heart disease, among others. This is mostly a result of our unhealthy modern living habits, and also, the ability of modern medicine to prolong life, even with chronic disease.
With most, if not all, family members in full-time employment, the elderly are often left alone at home during the day. With nobody at home to properly care for them, accidents, such as a fall, or incidents like a stroke or heart attack, could occur without anyone being aware of it. Any incident, even something minor, may contribute to a drastic decrease in the quality of life of an elderly patient, possibly resulting in them becoming fully dependent on others, completely bed-bound or unable to communicate at all.
Therefore, while the ideal place to grow old is somewhere familiar with family around to keep you company, if the elderly parents spend their days at home alone, with no one to see if an accident occurs, then perhaps spending their days in a nursing home or old folks’ home may not be as disgraceful as it used to be.
But it is important to remember that a nursing home is not somewhere you send your parents to and subsequently, wash your hands of all responsibility. All family members should still be actively involved in the caregiving process even if their parent is in an assisted-care facility.
How to find the best nursing home in KL, Malaysia
Whether you are searching for yourself or you are a family member helping out, finding the best nursing home can be a difficult process. For all involved it’s a new emotional and financial challenge. But the more prepared you are the better decision you’ll make.
Before you do a lot of leg work, ask around.
Selecting the Right Nursing Home
After you’ve asked around (see above) and have some homes that sound promising, go for a visit. And think about these questions while you’re there. These questions will most likely lead to other questions.
Quality of Life
Is the nursing home clean?
Do they offer social, recreational, religious and cultural activities that interest you?
Can you choose your waking, bed time, and bathing time?
Can you get food and drinks anytime? Is the food good? Ask to try it.
Can you have visitors anytime?
Can you have a pet?
Is transportation provided?
How much privacy is there?
Can you decorate your room how you like?
Is the temperature comfortable?
Is there good natural lighting?
Quality of Care
Is the staff respectful and friendly and provide good nursing care?
Will you get a copy of your care plan? Your care plan is based on your health information and must be assessed in the first 14 days and at least every 90 days thereafter.
Who are your doctors? Can you see your personal doctor?
What improvement goals is the nursing home working on?
Costs will vary based on location, the type and amount of care, and who the provider is. Some nursing homes will charge extra for additional services while others will have “all inclusive fees.”