Home ownership boost

KUALA LUMPUR: To reduce homelessness, the government should boost home ownership, especially for the elderly for whom obtaining access to high-quality healthcare has become a major burden because of the rising cost of food and other expenses such as loans and miscellaneous costs that are already taxing their finances. Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who said this, was commenting on recent figures by the Statistics Department, which expects the country to have individuals aged 60 and above making up 15.3% of the 32 million population by 2030. “This has the potential to raise the number of homeless in the country if more is not done to address home ownership,” he said. Tan was speaking at a conference and exhibition in conjunction with the 2nd Asean Senior Care and Wellness event organised by Third Age Media Association Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. “At least, owning a house can reduce their burden, and it develops a sense of stability among people, both in terms of their housing situation and their broader sense of belonging within their community,” he told the conference. Adding to what Tan said, The Third Age Media Association (TAMA) founding president and chairman of the Malaysian Coalition on Aging (MCOA) Cheah Tuck Wing said the aim of the conference and exhibition is to establish mutually beneficial collaboration with Universiti Malaya (UM), as a first step towards achieving the shared goals to assist elderly citizens. “This is the first time that standards are being set and a national curriculum is being prepared to train caregivers. This has never been done before. This is a milestone for the country as we are facing a serious shortage of trained and skilled caregivers. “To achieve healthy and active ageing in the post-Covid-19 era, it is important to promote early detection of non-communicable diseases (NCD), which are prevalent in older persons because of their compromised immunity. Hence, collaborations with civil society and partnerships with the public and private sectors are important to respond to our rapidly ageing society,” Cheah said. He added that it is necessary for various sectors, such as public, private and civil societies to work in collaboration to enhance the effectiveness, reach and longevity of the elderly and their families. “As we enter a new era, it is important to focus on more concerning issues like this, which entails going beyond just providing social services and support to meet the broader needs of the ageing population,” he said. Universiti Malaya dean of the Medicine Faculty Prof Dr April Camilla Roslani said the engagement with Tama is strategic to build a collaborative network with various stakeholders. The initiatives that are carried out should not be limited to solely promoting the active ageing of older people but also providing them the assisted care when they need it and supporting their caregivers. “This allows researchers to delve into issues at the root, and to find effective solutions from stakeholders’ perspectives that would bring more positive impact to the welfare of older people, caregivers and the aged care industry in Malaysia. “With our commitment to serving our nation and communities, we feel privileged to be part of this collaboration. I sincerely believe it will further advance the academic and research cooperation between UM and stakeholders in our joint pursuit of quality aged care for Malaysians.” In a video address at the event, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the approach is the most strategic one that has been taken by TAMA and Universiti Malaya, adding that the initiative has set a benchmark for others to follow and that it uplifts the elderly by fulfilling their needs. “It is crucial for seniors to undergo regular health screenings to prevent further deterioration of their medical problems. The government has taken steps to promote health screening among seniors by providing subsidies, healthcare screening packages and organising health screening campaigns. However, more needs to be done to ensure all seniors are screened regularly,” she said



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