Special report: Is my country ready to become an Aged Nation in 2030?

Malaysia is one of the countries with the fastest aging population in the world. According to statistics from the Bureau of Statistics, our country is expected to become a “country of the elderly” by 2030.

By then, the population aged 60 or above will account for more than 15% of the total population, which is close to 5 million people.

However, the former chairman of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Koo Ka Choi and the chairman of the Association for Residential Aged Care Operators of Malaysia (AgeCope) Mr Delren Douglas both said that the government is not yet ready to deal with this phenomenon.

Chairman of the Association for Residential Aged Care Operators of Malaysia (AgeCope) Mr Delren Douglas

Conditions are Strict and it is difficult to apply for a nursing home/ old folks home license

Delren said that as the elderly population increases year by year, the society’s demand for old folks homes/nursing homes will become higher and higher.

The current number of 1,700 nursing homes across the country is definitely not enough to meet this demand.

He said frankly that among the current estimated 1,700 Centres, only 382 have legal business licenses, and the rest are operating without licenses.

Delren explained that at present, the license of the Centres are issued by the Welfare Ministry.

The process of applying for a license must pass through four departments, namely the Welfare Ministry the Ministry of Health, the Fire and Rescue Dept/BOMBA, and the local government authorities.

However, the application conditions of each local authority is not uniform, and even different city/town councils in the same state have different standards and rules, which leads to great confusion for the industry, and it may still not be possible to obtain a license even after running back and forth.

“The BOMBA requires double storey homes to install a fire hose reel system or sprinkler system, but this system costs RM40,000 to RM50,000, which is very expensive for Care Centres that operate on a small budget, short term rental or rely on public donations, and some city councils stipulate that Old Folks Homes only can be opened in a commercial location, so if a Centre originally opened in a residential area needs to re-apply for a license, it will cost hundreds of thousands to relocate, which is simply unaffordable.

Therefore, he hopes that the federal government can sync the standards for applying for Elderly Care Centres/ nursing home licenses nationwide and relax some conditions, such as Elderly Care Centres can be opened in any community, neighbors’ consent is not required to open a Centre in a residential area, and fire hose reels are replaced with fire extinguishers, etc.

Foreign workers are not allowed, Locals Shunned to do it

Former chairman of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Mr. Koo Ka Choi

In addition to the difficulty of applying for a license, the domestic elderly care industry is currently facing the dilemma of not being able to hire employees.

“The Elderly Care Centre is currently under Welfare Ministry and considered as charitable organization, so it is not allowed to hire foreign workers, but the locals don’t want to do it because they think it is dirty job and have no future.
As a result, most of the people working in the Centres and homes are school dropouts who have no nursing knowledge or have a relatively low education. “

Mr Delren said that services in Elderly Care Centres are what you pay for. If you want high-quality care for the elderly at home, you must pay a higher fee to hire a professional nurse.

Taking Klang Valley as an example, the fee can range from RM1,500 to RM8,400. The amount varies.

Therefore, he believes that the current measures of the Welfare Ministry to give poverty-stricken elderly people or caregivers a monthly assistance of RM300 to RM500 cannot effectively help these families in the long run.

He revealed that there were actually many nursing schools/colleges in our country 10 years ago, but they were closed one after another, resulting in a sharp decrease in nurse graduates.

Therefore, he hopes that in the 2023 budget, the government can allocate funds to reopen these nursing schools in all states across the country to systematically train more professional nurses, and formulate a standardized salary system to determine salary based on academic qualifications. Attract more young people to join the aged care industry.

By Melody for Syok News



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