Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sustainable Retirement & Aged Care – How Ready Are We Now?

The ripples of a rapidly ageing population in six years will see a significant impact on all areas foundational to life in Malaysia.

It is a common sight to see hired domestic help assisting an elderly with daily physical needs or a wheelchair bound elderly struggling to enter the neighbourhood sundry shop built with an elevated step at the entrance. However by 2021, this system won’t cut ice any longer with the ageing population booming exponentially and everything from healthcare to policies and infrastructure will be unable to cope with the demand. The issues and challenges that we have turned a blind eye to must be attended to now to address the deficits of aged care not only in the future, but in the very present now. Here are the issues that are in need of a thorough review.

  • Human capital – There is a distinct lack of quality caregivers, geriatric doctors and training courses for caregivers and other categories of nurses. What training courses that can be found on caregiving are rudimentary at best and the rapid growth of the aged population necessitates specialised focus on such training. Domestic house keepers, typically seen as the answer in the average Malaysian household, is not a viable option as they do not possess the skill and knowledge on specific caregiving duties such as administration of medicine or wound dressing, etc.
  • Infrastructure – An aged-friendly infrastructure is not only built for the physical needs of the elderly. It also acts as the tool that enables the elderly to be contributing participants of society as a result of being able to stay healthy, happy and dignified in the knowledge that the system supports them while preventing the decline into unproductivity due to loneliness and fears of inadequacy.
  • Specialised care services – Development of services for people with special needs such as geriatrics, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, mental illnesses and palliative care is essential as they not only serve in addressing physical or mental care. Markets like Singapore, Australia New Zealand, and Japan which have established senior living concepts and industry, understand that such services are the tangible arms of support of an age-supportive infrastructure that go beyond the clinical and well into the emotional being of the aged population.
  • Legal aspects – As a result of the current infrastructure, the roles and responsibilities of family members, operators, and enforcement agencies are not clearly defined. Elderly abuse is viewed as domestic violence in Malaysia and is not clear in cases of abandonment or neglect by the family. It remains largely unreported and no law is enacted to address it in definitive parameters. Operators of care centres (under the Care Centre Act 1993) and nursing homes (under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 2006) need to be legally accountable for the care of their charges. Currently, it is common to find care centres and nursing homes indistinguishable from each other with care centres, which are only supposed to care for those with lesser-care needs, also taking in high-care needs patients and the bedridden. The reverse is true for nursing homes.
  • Standard operating procedures & enforcement – In Malaysia, a standard operating procedure (SOP) for nursing homes and care centres is seemingly non-existent. It is evident in the line-up of licensed and unlicensed homes and centres that there is no adherence to regulations. Care procedures, along with quality of facilities, types of services offered and fees differ from one centre to another. With the population rapidly ageing, Malaysia needs to enact a standard operating procedure, where end-users will know exactly what to expect from standardised facilities when they pay a certain fee, followed by consistent enforcement of these standards. It is hoped that the situation will be rectified with the introduction of the impending Aged Healthcare Act. The concerns raised are not problems to be dealt with in the future. They are issues that will soon become our very present reality if left unattended. Hence, Aged Care Group, an organisation engaged in the business of elevating and providing aged care services in Malaysia, is organising the Sustainable Retirement & Aged Care conference to address the challenges of Malaysia’s aged care infrastructure and the development of a viable model capable of delivering the highest value of quality aged care to elderly Malaysians.

The issues and challenges that we have turned a blind eye to must be attended to now to address the deficits of aged care not only in the future, but in the very present now.

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Aged Care Group is an organisation engaged in the business of elevating and providing aged care services in Malaysia. It seeks to be the frontrunner in all things related to the aged, building on the years of knowledge and experience of its shareholders and management team. With a comprehensive medical and health care system that is available to the general public, solitarily efficient in their respective areas of expertise, Malaysians have managed to get by thus far. We shift our mental ‘gears’ to accommodate different expectations as we enter the various stages and institutions we require for our care.

 

 

For more information on the Sustainable Retirement & Aged Care (SRAC) conference, contact Aged Care Group at 03 – 2142 1666 or email info@agedcare.com.my or visit http://agedcare.com/sustainable-retirementaged-care-conference/

First Published in Smart Investor | October 2015 | Issue 306

Sustainable Retirement & Aged Care – Why it’s not a match made in heaven?

The Malaysian aged care industry is at its infancy stage. As we are becoming an ageing population, this will thrust the imminent growth of the aged care industry.

Embedding sustainability into the retirement and aged care business model will innovate and drive the growth of the industry. What is currently being discussed and debated over time is the ability of the industry as a whole to meet the growing demand for the aged care at a price, quality and proximity that is acceptable to the community of different levels of income and yet viable for the industry.

There is a profound social shift taking place which requires an equally profound shift in society’s mind set about ageing. Humans have strived for centuries to live longer; to cheat death. But the social change driven by our longer lives brings challenges, and for some, economic opportunities in the healthcare services industry.

Non-existence of a holistic framework for payment options for aged care in Malaysia warrants a strong integrated mechanism to ensure sufficient funding for individual Malaysians to sustain their retirement much less their aged care needs.

Thus, the impending dilemma requires a review of the financing systems currently available in order to formulate integrated retirement plans of aged care that considers the needs of consumers, the business imperatives of providers and the Government’s commitment to provide Malaysians’ sustainable saving choices for their retirement and aged care needs.

Such financing systems for review include cash savings, insurance, Employee Provident Funds (EPF), KWAP, ASB, ASM, Private Retirement Scheme (PRS), investments, properties, SOCSO and other sources including family and charitable sources.

With the engagement of Malaysia’s current economic climate, which continues to see the drop of the ringgit, to the growing necessity of an integrated aged care system, the proverbial elephant in the room needs to be addressed now.

  • How do we overcome the lack of funding from the government and the shortage of aged care services by promoting the industry to private sectors and not-for-profit sectors?
  • Why the need to call for an integrated financial system, products and structure to pay for aged care services due to the financial risk and longevity risk of Malaysia’s aged care needs – i.e. seeking an integrated approach towards funding for sustainability and participation from financial institutions – crucially essential?
  • How and what are the government, authorities and agencies doing to develop an aged care model that enables social sustainability and workforce sustainability?
  • What needs to take place by the regulators, financial institutions and individuals to formulate a financing system for the elderly for financial sustainability and how it can be done?

These are the questions that require effective answers, addressing the pressing need to establish a flexible and seamless aged care industry that provides Malaysians with more choices, control and access to a full range of services, wherever and whenever they need it at an affordable cost.

In other words, sustainability – as defined in the aged care industry – as the creation of an ecosystem which provides a healthy environment to maximise the quality of life.

Work In Isolation

The argument is that up till now, sustainable design and practice pertaining to aged care especially has been focused on components rather than on systems.

We tend to maximise our component of the work in isolation from everyone else’s component. The result of this tendency is that we get highly efficient individual components, but inefficient systems overall and perverse outcomes.

What is eminent is that when we think about sustainability it must be across the whole value chain within the retirement spectrum which includes aged care. This means looking at retirement and aged care provision as a whole and not independently.

In addressing the issue discussed and raised here thus far, Aged
Care Group (ACG) is organising the Sustainable Retirement & Aged Care (SRAC) conference with the aim of becoming the catalyst that will create a paradigm shift in which the handling of aged care becomes a community effort.

The infrastructure of human resources, development, medicine, law and policies will come together smoothly as opposed to an individual effort. SRAC’s first objective aims to bridge the gap especially in the areas that pose as obstacles to meeting the growing demands of the ageing population, re-look at models that are available in the current Malaysian landscape to achieve adequate profit or surplus.

Businesses can draw a level of investment for a sustainable business
catering to the elderly that matches with their specific care requirements and financial affordability – in short their retirement portfolio.

Secondly, to develop an aged care model that is viable to deliver the highest value to our elderly Malaysians for the identified 3 income levels – the poor, the middle income and the rich. And finally, how to develop products that are able to provide a sustainable financing system for Malaysians to pay for their aged care needs taking into considerations of longevity risks and financial risks of aged care needs.


Sustainable Retirement & Aged Care (SRAC) Conference

22nd October 2015, Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Opening by a renowned local personality with presentation in the form of infographic about Malaysia’s aged care situation and how it should be transformed based on PEMANDU Economic Transformation Programme for Senior Living.

Each session will draw down pertinent issues involving senior living focusing on retirement and aged care – the current state of the industry, challenges, and opportunities, lessons from abroad and moving forward strategies. The delivery mechanism of each session will be to initiate dialogues amongst key players in the industry and audience participation to ensure valuable takeaways with actionable outcomes.

Great takeaways – Live event visuals – transforming ideas and words into hand-drawn visuals. Each attendee will walk away with beautiful summaries of the sessions that can be used as references for discussions immediately.

 

First Published in Smart Investor | September 2015 | Issue 305

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