PETALING JAYA: While many senior citizens at aged care homes enjoy the community and activities there, they know that looking for a home at affordable rates can be a challenge.
Mariam Ramlah, 72, started living in an aged care home when she and her family members saw that she needed assistance in her daily living and activities.
“I have been living at the Sri Mesra home for five years. My siblings agreed and advised me to stay here.
“They still offer me emotional support and they would regularly bring me out, ” she said in an interview.
Mariam, who is from Pahang, said she was grateful that she only had to pay a donation to stay at the home. Some of her friends may have difficulty finding a suitable home to live in.
“I heard from others that staying in aged care homes can run up to a few thousand ringgit. Some of us cannot afford that, ” said Mariam who has financial support in the form of her pension.
The Sri Mesra home in Ampang, which has been in operation since 2013, is a private facility run by a non-governmental group and registered with the Welfare Department.
“There is a long waiting list for government-owned aged care homes and a lot of procedures to undertake before one can start living there, ” said Mariam.
Nurshida Mah Yusof, 58, enjoys living in her care home, where she is able to help and interact with others.
“Previously, I suffered from obesity. Sometimes, when my siblings were working and I was alone in the house, I would just eat and eat.
“I discussed it with my siblings and we decided that I should come here because I needed help to discipline myself with my eating.
“Now, I can help others by drying out clothes and helping with other chores. At least, I have activities to do, ” she said.
Nurshida said initially, her family had wanted to hire a private nurse for her due to weight control issues.
“My siblings were willing to pay the nursing fees for me because they love me but it would be very expensive for them, especially as it is not in the nurses’ job scope to cook and do other household chores.
“In the end, choosing a care home is dependent on the individual and the family, and what suits them, ” she said.
Sri Mesra manager Faezah Ali said many NGOs who open aged care homes had to be proactive and creative with fundraising.
“If a person wants to run a home, he or she must have enough reserves to last for at least a year so that there won’t be any financial worries.
“They can’t wait for people to donate. They must raise awareness to rally support for the elderly.
“Some elderly people may have their savings or pension but some of the family members of our residents don’t have the finances to even pay a donation to the homes.
“Yet, we cannot turn them away because where will they go? Many places are full.”
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