On a serene street in Petaling Jaya, the senior citizens of My Manor are already up to welcome a brand new day.
One of them, Joan Chalcraft, 80, was seen enjoying her breakfast at the dining table.
Wheelchair-bound Patricia Wingrove, 83, on the other hand, was exercising on the corridor with a walking aid.
In the gym room, Khoo Cheow Kin, 88, greeted us with a smile while relaxing on a massage chair.
Basking in the morning sunshine, the mansion exuded a sense of tranquility and warmth. An assisted living residence for the elderly, My Manor was set up by husband-and-wife team Charles and Janet Wilkins in August last year.
It’s a place that provides 24-hour supervision and personal care assistance as well as health care services.
“In Malaysia, there are sufficient care for the children and very little for the elderly. And it’s difficult to find a home such as this,” Janet, a local, said.
Indeed. My Manor is totally different from the usual old folks’ homes, which are equipped only with minimal facilities.
Fully carpeted, the 12-room bungalow is adorned with tasteful paintings and furniture.
The soothing sound of flowing water through the landscaped garden, makes it a perfect area for the residents to rest and have a casual chat with each other.
“We imagine a house, which we want to retire in, and we decorate this place accordingly,” Janet said.
My Manor caters for the elderly who need more assistance than what is available at home.
“We accept people who are relatively mobile, but we have to turn down those who are already in nursing care,” Wilkins said.
There are 10 staff members catering to the residents’ needs, including Wilkins and Janet, live-in nurses, live-in carers, cook, cleaners and security guard.
“This is more like a hotel; we give them what the residents want and offer them interaction as well as privacy.
“There are eight single and four double rooms, all fitted with wardrobe, dressing table, TV cabinet, bedside table, easy chair, air-conditioner, ceiling fan, smoke detector, call assist button, 21” colour TV set, Astro and DVD player,” Charles said.
Both of them live in the bungalow together with the residents.
Janet has vast experience dealing with kids from her previous job as assistant teacher, while Charles ran an antique shop in London.
“Time has changed it’s no longer a taboo sending parents to old folks’ home.
“Most of the children have to work for long hours and they leave their parents with the maids.
“Instead of having only four walls and nobody to interact, we provide companionship to the elderly,” Janet said.
While nobody is on hand to take care of the elderly at home, accidents might happen – like what experienced by a few of My Manor’s residents back at their homes.
“They fell and had to go through operations. Here, we don’t let them use the bathrooms themselves, even though it is equipped with non-slip floors, handrails, bathing chair and call assist button,” Charles said.
There are no strict visiting hours and the residents’ family and friends can drop by frequently to visit them.
For Wilkins and Janet, it has been a joyous journey running the home and Janet finds satisfaction in bringing happiness to the elderly.
“It’s not a burden at all. They are so fun to be with - you’d be surprised when they start to sing the karaoke!” she said.
On Sunday, Wilkins would take over as cook and prepare roast chicken or lamb for a feast.
It seems that the couple has found themselves new “fathers” and “mothers”, but Wingrove from Beaconsfield, Britain, thinks otherwise, “I feel like their daughter, being taken care by them.”
Wingrove, who has been staying in My Manor since last September, likes the home very much.
“It’s good – very clean and the food served is nice,” she said.
Chalcraft from London echoed her views.
“The surrounding is nice and people here are kind and friendly,” she said.
Her favourite pastime is reading the newspaper to keep abreast of the latest happenings in her homeland.
Khoo, who is from Penang, likes My Manor for its peaceful surrounding.
“When I am free, I walk around and exercise. The carers won’t let me wander alone, they’d come looking for me whenever I am outside the house,” she said.
The Manor is located at 27, Jalan Taman 7/6, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Daycare programme (Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm) and respite programme (weekend, weekly or monthly residential stays) are also available.
Call 03-7954 8421 or 016-603 0114, or visit http://www.mymanor.com.my/.