Developing an Ecosystem for Policy and Social Innovation
To have a team of key enablers to foster effective governance combining leadership from state agencies with a robust consultative mechanism and a culture fostered by the government to value self-reliance and collective responsibility. Built on this enabling ecosystem, policy and social innovation which is driven by the government for its proactive action and holistic solutions, with a growing push to promote cross-sectoral collaboration. Members of the Coalition, through their commitment and expertise have been working together and collectively, have come out with some salient recommendations that they believe would change the landscape of aged care and the benefits to senior citizens of Malaysia for the better. Collectively, they urge the relevant authority (or government) to consider the following main issues to be addressed as a matter of priority. The main issues to be addressed includes:
- To have a separate sub – ministry to be solely over looking the needs of the elderly Malaysians instead of the current situation of integrating the services offered to the elderly under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) and agencies under KPWKM such as Social Welfare Department (JKM) is no longer feasible. The Minister in charge of KPWKM have too many responsibilities as he/she has to look into the affairs of not only the elderly but also the women, children and the disabled (OKU). This portfolio under the current said Ministry is too onerous to have aged care included to be efficient. As a result, many of the urgent requirements of the senior community are not addressed. The needs of the elderly population in itself cuts across many ministries (housing, transport, heath, education and others) and it make sense to have a dedicated ministry to manage these matters.
- Fundings for the facilities that are running on a pro-bono basis.
- Standardization for the licensing and requirements for the operations of) aged care facilities
- Providing continuous training to aged care facilities.
- Ensure adequate and proper staffing for aged care facilities.
- Provide subsidy to aged care services that are identified.
- The regulations of aged care facilities to be gazetted as soon as possible to facilitate smooth planning and operational projects with consistency and without ambiguity of interpretations.
- For PLAN Malaysia (Town and Country Planning Department, Ministry of Housing and Local Government) to review their “Garis Panduan Perancangan Fizikal bagi Warga Emas” immediately. The said planning guidelines is applicable and vital to the development of suitable aged care facilities and seniors that are living in residential facilities such as Retirement Villages. Some of the conditions stipulated within the guideline makes it extremely difficult for such developments to be financially and operationally viable.
A standardised national caregiver training syllabus and and to ensure eventually every caregiver are provided basic skills. The training will be subsidised by the Government to elevate the standard of caregiving natonwide.
Parks, Parking, ramps and railings, wheelchair friendly, elder friendly toilets and public transportations.
- A robust and dynamic accreditation system for approved ethical age care.
- Self-regulated by the industry.
- Be involved in the enforcements of the acts and guidelines.
- Guidelines for retirement villages / senior living community.
- To issue a single senior citizen card on attaining 65years old where discounts of more than 50% on travel, medical etc. where this is currently only given to government employees. Living allowances for M40 and B40 aged citizens of RM 600 irrespective of employment sector should also be considered.
- To have one discount card, for all services for eg, public transport, groceries, books & stationery, etc, that would ensure convenience to the elderly.
- To extend the facilities for Persons with Disabilities to Senior Citizens.This includes designated parking space, specially designed-public toilets and suitable public space like having more slope pathway (ramps) and other mobility features. Additionally, to introduce free regular transportation to hospital, pharmacy, supermarket and library for senior citizens who live independently. The local bus company should also introduce more low-floor buses for ease of accessibility.
- To provide free computer devices and internet services to senior citizens who are pursuing online learning courses. Continuing lifelong learning among senior citizens would improve their mental wellbeing, strengthen physical health and help them forge new social connection. In addition, to provide senior citizens with discount vouchers to buy a computer device for every 3 years. By providing a free-internet services, they would not be financially burden with additional monthly bill.
- Social security and financial security.
- Vaccination – aged care facilities.
This must include resources to deal with the inevitable growth of the elder population, including access to geriatric specialists, home-based assistance, rehabilitation services, assisted living and skilled nursing centers (often referred to as nursing homes), hospice care and community-wide supports.
Data collection, analysis and evaluation is undertaken to support continuous evidence-based improvement to the design, quality, accessibility, effectiveness and efficiency of care and support services for older people and their informal carers.
We propose working together with all stakeholders to organize and support activities that promote healthy ageing. These include:
- Campaigns on good habits for a healthy lifestyle e.g. Stop Smoking; Fight Obesity.
- Community activities e.g. communal gardens, daily exercises, celebration of festivals, gotong-royong, sports.
- Talks by specialists on nutrition, mental health, disease prevention.
- Workshops on skills such as cooking, DIY repair, handicrafts.
- Volunteering for community service and projects.
- Intergenerational activities – university students teaching seniors how to use apps and digital devices; the seniors providing tuition classes for the children. The two generations can work on projects together.
While the above activities are not new, most are carried out piecemeal. There is no sustained programme of community activities to promote neighbourliness and harmony in PPR and other housing areas. Maintaining social connections is one of the key pillars in healthy, active ageing. We should advocate for funding to have an adequately-equipped community hall in every PPR with a salaried, qualified manager to oversee the facilities and manage the various activities efficiently.