KUALA LUMPUR: Aged care centres where the elderly can live among their peers are being considered as a measure to tackle Malaysia’s aging population that would reach 15% by 2030.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that in the past the elderly relied on their extended family members but the Government was now looking into providing other means for their care.
“We realise we need to focus on aged care,” he said after delivering his opening remarks at the Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care Group Specialists Conference.
Dr Noor Hisham said Australia had a community where residents could purchase apartments, semi-detached units or bungalows designed for the elderly.
Besides lodging, he said, all their other needs such as food, facilities and medical care were provided for in a conducive area.
“It’s not an old folks home. It’s a home plus an environment for the elderly,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham added that developing such centres could be a potential growth sector for Malaysia.
He said proposals had come in from Johor and Kuching but existing laws needed to be reviewed to allow for such centres.
Dr Noor Hisham noted that while old folks homes fell under the purview of the Welfare Ministry, nursing homes came under the Health Ministry.
On a separate matter, he said, details of the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) would be announced by the Prime Minister next month.
“We may start with civil servants first.”
Dr Noor Hisham said the problem now was that people who used up their personal health insurance would fall back on the government.
With the VHIS, he said, patients could access private healthcare because the ministry could negotiate better pricing.